Bjarne Riis says he’s confident Team NTT will survive into the 2021 season, the IT company’s title sponsorship ending at the end of the year and not expected to extend.
The Dane having arrived as team manager at the start of the season and says he hopes to announce good news on the team’s financial health soon.
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“2021? I’m confident,” Riis said of the South African squad’s continued participation in the peloton. “I’ve been in situations like this before. We are working on it, we hope to tell the world something soon. It’s not optimum, it is what it is, we have to deal with it. The sponsors also know that.”
Currently racing at the Tour de France, the team have so far been unlucky in their pursuit of stage victories, which Riis hopes could attract fresh sponsorship prospects.
“It’s been okay to be back, we’re here, we’re fighting, we haven’t been lucky at all, bad luck is part of the game,” Riis said of his return to the French Grand Tour. “We will keep on fighting, and waiting for our opportunity.
“It’s pretty simple. We have to look at the cards we have, and play them as best we can. Keep motivating our goals to keep fighting and to make some results.”
His first Tour back looks particularly different to the usual three-week offering, with Riis saying people need to be realistic and if they don’t like the racing on offer then they should find other interests.
“The coronavirus? Who enjoys that? I don’t think Prudhomme is enjoying it, the spectactors, that’s the world we’re living in right now,” Riis said, bluntly. “If you cannot deal with it, stay home and do something else.”