Former Tour de France winner Bjarne Riis quits as SA-based NTT Pro Cycling manager

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NTT Pro Cycling, Africa’s only elite World Tour team, announced on Wednesday that 1996 Tour de France winner Bjarne Riis is stepping down from his role as general manager.

The South African-based team said in a statement the split was by “mutual consent”.

Riis, 56, had only joined NTT at the start of the year but recently expressed concern over the team’s future as it looks for a new sponsor in time for next season.

The Danish former rider was previously in charge of Professional Cycling Denmark, a team founded in 1999 and sponsored by the Saxo and Tinkoff banks in its later years. He left in 2015.

“I’d like to thank Bjarne for the experience and leadership that he has brought to our environment, and the contribution he has made,” NTT team principal Douglas Ryder said in a statement.

It added that Riis and his partners had ended talks about buying a stake in the team. Japanese technology services company NTT has said it will not renew its sponsorship for the 2021 season.

Riis admitted after he retired that he had doped but is still recognised as a former Tour winner.

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