MTN-Qhubeka general manager Brian Smith confirmed that Bjarne Riis has enquired about the possibility of joining the team and bringing substantial sponsorship money with him.
The Dane is looking for his next opportunity in cycling after leaving Tinkoff-Saxo following a disagreement with owner Oleg Tinkov.
Danish newspaper BT reports that Riis’s relationship with Saxo Bank relationship with Saxo Bank manager Lars Seier Christiansen is strong enough that the bank would be willing to sponsor a team Riis is working with to the tune of over £3.5m per year.
But Riis is finding it tough to find a new employer, with his doping past and recent revelations about doped riders under his management at CSC causing teams to distance themselves from him.
“There has not been any negotiations on our part, but it is true that Bjarne Riis has inquired about the possibilities,” said MTN-Qhubeka’s Smith to BT.
“For us it has not been possible to initiate a collaboration with Bjarne Riis. Our values are not consistent with his history; Riis has previously doped. It was emphasised very clearly that it would not be feasible, and it was solely because of Riis.”
Riis has also been linked with Danish Pro Continental team Cult Energy Pro, who are set to fold before the end of the season because of ongoing financial issues.