Team CSC Saxo Bank (UCI Team Code: CSC) is a professional cycling team from Denmark which competes in the road bicycle racing series the UCI ProTour. The team is owned and managed by former Tour de France winner Bjarne Riis, under the management of his company Riis Cycling A/S. The main sponsor since the 2001 season and sole name sponsor since 2003, Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), is an IT company located in Virginia, United States. 2008 will be the last year with CSC sponsorship.
Founded for the 1998 season under the name of Team home - Jack & Jones, the team started in cycling's second best division, but since 2000 it has taken part in cycling's top division (currently known as the UCI ProTour, previously as the 1st Division). Since 2000, under differing sponsor names (Team Memory Card - Jack & Jones and CSC-Tiscali), the team has participated in the Tour de France, the most prestigious of the three Grand Tours of cycling. The team has won stages in all three Grand Tours, and team captain Ivan Basso finished second overall in the 2005 Tour de France. Team CSC can call themselves the best cycling team in the world, since they completed the 2006 UCI ProTour by successfully defending the team title which they had won in 2005. The team made it three-in-a-row by winning the 2007 UCI ProTour. In the 2008 Tour de France, team leader Carlos Sastre won the yellow jersey, Andy Schleck won the white jersey for best young rider, and the team won the overall team competition.
When Bjarne Riis took over the team in the winter of 2000, he hired the former Danish Ranger Corps soldier B.S. Christiansen as a team advisor, and together they would give Team CSC a distinct philosophy from many other professional cycling teams, both in training methods and the climate in the team. The team works with four values; communication, loyalty, commitment and respect, with the aim of improving their teamwork. Furthermore, apart from a few select riders for the biggest races of the season, the team rides for the rider who is in the best shape on the day, and also chose to separate the function of team captain (the rider making decisions) and team leader (the rider trying to win) to avoid concentrating the pressure on a single rider.
To heighten these values, the Team CSC staff go on yearly outdoor education trips, or so-called "boot camps", undertaking an array of physical challenges under time pressure. According to B.S. Christiansen, the camps have the goal of "teaching people, that they can achieve their goals by cooperating. They have to perform their very best under the worst possible circumstances, where every action has a consequence, and Bobby Julich, one of the riders, explained that "those days in the bush bonded us much closer and given [sic] us the strategies to work as a team in any racing situation".
The doping scandal in the 1998 Tour de France didn't affect the small team directly, but Bjarne Riis, who was a part of the peloton in the Tour de France, was subsequently branded a doping cheat in the Danish media in early 1999, and Riis decided to sell his stock in Professional Cycling Denmark ApS.
Despite the surrounding fuss, the team finished as the overall 32nd best team of the 1998 season, and with an increased budget of around €2,400,000 combined, the number of riders was increased to 14, with riders of a higher standard being brought in. In terms of number of races won, the year 1999 was the most successful season for the team until 2005: with 26 UCI victories the team was promoted to the 1st Division. In September 1999 the team came in the headlines as Belgian rider Marc Streel was tested with a hematocrit level of 53.4%, a value above 50% being an indicator of EPO doping, and he was fired from the team. Home stopped sponsoring the team, effectively from the end of the season, citing concern about doping in the sport.
In April 2000 Nicolai Bo Larsen was tested with a 51% hematocrit level, but unlike Streel he wasn't fired, as Bo Larsen had been tested with a 47% level the day before. The morning after his incriminating result of 51%, he again tested with 47%. However, the apparent double standards of the team in dealing with doping was detrimental to its image in the Danish public and Jack & Jones did not want to prolong their sponsoring deal, despite Bo Larsen later being acquitted of doping charges by a medical report.
In the fall of 2000, Bjarne Riis took over Professional Cycling Denmark ApS and the team. After the 2000 season the contract with Jack & Jones expired, and Bjarne Riis did not want to continue working with Memory Card due to their dire financial difficulties.
In April 2001, Bo Hamburger was tested positive with a newly developed EPO test method, which distinguished the natural EPO in the body from synthetic EPO used in doping by determining the percentage of basic EPO. The first test of Bo Hamburger showed 82.3% which was above the maximum limit of 80% imposed by the UCI, but as his secondary tests showed both 82.4% and 78.6% he was found "not guilty" in a case that ultimately resulted in his acquittal by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in 2002. Bo Hamburger was released from his contract with CSC-Tiscali in September 2001.
The team first gained international prominence after signing French cycling star Laurent Jalabert before the 2001 season, following his many years with the Spanish ONCE team of Manolo Saiz. Knowing that he intended to retire at the end of the 2002 season, Jalabert said that, "I wanted to retire with a French team, but nobody gave me a good offer, so I went with CSC instead". At the time, CSC was sponsored by the French bike manufacturer LOOK, which is closely associated with Jalabert. The team also signed American rider Tyler Hamilton, formerly of the U.S. Postal Service cycling team. The 2001 season was a breakthrough season with Jalabert's win of the King of the Mountains competition and a stage on Bastille Day at the Tour de France, winning him popularity with the French cycling fans. The season ended with Jalabert winning the 2001 Clásica de San Sebastián, showing that he was still the man for the classics.
2002 was another breakthrough season, with Tyler Hamilton finishing second in the Giro d'Italia despite a broken scapula. The team also nearly won the team time trial event at the 2002 Tour de France, thwarted by an unfortunate flat tire. But Jalabert once again won the King of the Mountains competition, and later in the year he repeated his victory at the Clásica de San Sebastián. He retired at the end of the season, as planned.
In 2003, Riis renamed Professional Cycling Denmark ApS to Riis Cycling A/S. Tiscali ceased sponsorship, and Riis Cycling A/S was unable to find a new co-sponsor, hence the team changed the name from "CSC-Tiscali" to "Team CSC" and continued the 2003 season on a reduced budget. The headquarters of Riis Cycling A/S was moved from Herning to the headquarters of one of their sponsors, the Danish insurance company Alm. Brand in Lyngby, a Copenhagen suburb.
In the 2003 season Tyler Hamilton stepped up to be the team leader with the ultimate goal of challenging for the General Classification (GC) of the 2003 Tour de France. He won the classics Liège-Bastogne-Liège and was in great form, when he was seriously injured again, breaking his collarbone in a massive pile-up on stage 1 of the Tour de France. This saw him lose a lot of time on the GC. He made it up by winning a stage of the Tour and finishing in fourth place, while his teammates Carlos Sastre and Jakob Piil also won stages in the same edition of the race.
Hamilton decided to switch to the Swiss team Phonak in 2004, citing a lack of support from Riis. Later, he was found guilty of doping, and sacked from Phonak. The team hired Italian talent Ivan Basso from the Fassa Bortolo team with the intention of grooming him to be the GC contender for the Grand Tours. Basso had won the maillot blanc youth classification for riders under 25 years of age in the 2002 Tour de France, and with his podium placing in the 2004 Tour de France he showed that he is a contender for the future.
Following an off-season with financial problems and wage cuts for a number of riders, the 2005 spring season was the strongest ever for Team CSC, with a number of high profile wins by Bobby Julich and Jens Voigt. With his victory in Paris-Nice, Bobby Julich became the first ever rider to wear the leader's jersey in the newly instated UCI ProTour race series. This was followed by three stage wins in Giro d'Italia, one by David Zabriskie and two by Ivan Basso, though Basso's hope for an overall victory was foiled by a stomach bug. Midway through the 2005 Tour de France, CSC extended their sponsorship until 2008 at a higher financial level, enabling Riis to renew the contract with Basso for an additional three years. Basso managed to get second place in the tour, after the retiring Lance Armstrong, and the team also got a stage win, with David Zabriskie's win in the prologue. The fall season yielded more success in the ProTour, as Bobby Julich achieved overall victory in the Eneco Tour of Benelux in addition to Carlos Sastre's coming in second overall, and Nicki Sørensen's stage win in, the Vuelta a España. Team CSC ended as the winner of the 2005 ProTour team competition, with Bobby Julich as the #8 ranked individual rider of the year, the highest placed rider in the CSC team.
Currently the team uses Cervélo-brand bikes and Shimano components. The arrangement with the small Canadian manufacturer works out well for CSC, as Cervélo's strength is in time-trial bikes, while CSC has a good number of riders who excel in that discipline.
The first victory of the 2006 UCI ProTour season came in the prologue of Paris-Nice by defending champion Bobby Julich, before he sustained an injury later in the race, at a time where he was no longer a contender for the overall victory. The spring season was plagued with further injuries, hitting a third of the team, most notably Stuart O'Grady. Nonetheless, the new team member Fabian Cancellara secured the second ProTour win in the year for the team in the individual time trial of Tirreno-Adriatico, and later followed up by winning the spring classic Paris-Roubaix. CSC and Cancellara's choice of the ultra light weight Cervélo R3 frame for the grueling Paris-Roubaix race surprised many commentators. Luxembourg cyclist Fränk Schleck followed up on Cancellara's lead and won the Amstel Gold Race a week later.
Before the first big goal of the season, Team CSC surprised everyone by announcing that Carlos Sastre would ride the Giro d'Italia as a helper for Ivan Basso, indicating that he would ride all three Grand Tours. 2005's winner Paolo Savoldelli was the strongest rider in the first stages, and Jan Ullrich took a surprise win in the ITT ahead of Ivan Basso, but from the point where the peloton hit the mountains, Ivan Basso dominated the race with three stage wins on mountain finishes, and a win in the team time trial to Team CSC who never lost control of the race. Ivan Basso ended up winning with a margin 9'18'' to the surprise runner-up José Enrique Gutiérrez.
On 30 June 2006, the management of Tour de France announced at a press conference, that Ivan Basso would not be riding in the 2006 Tour de France as a result of his apparent involvement in the Operación Puerto doping scandal. Carlos Sastre took over as captain after the initial confusion, and was the strongest rider in the favorite group on the last mountain stages, but a poor performance in the last time trial placed him in fourth place overall. The team also scored two stage wins, the most impressive being Fränk Schleck's win on Alpe d'Huez after a strong team effort. Jens Voigt had already won a flat stage after a long break away, and contributed strongly to both Schleck's win, and Sastre's placement in the stage.
The autumn season was dominated by the unresolved issue of Ivan Basso's involvement in Operación Puerto. The contract between Ivan Basso and Team CSC was cancelled by mutual consent, and the case against Ivan Basso was eventually dropped by the Federazione Ciclistica Italiana on lack of evidence, but without him authorizing a DNA test that could have cleared him conclusively. Basso adamantly denied being involved. (On May 7th 2007 Basso admitted his involvement in Puerto). Team CSC have since started an ambitious anti-doping program together with the notable Danish anti-doping expert Rasmus Damsgaard. Meanwhile, on the road, Jens Voigt totally dominated Deutschland Tour, winning overall and three stages, including both a mountain finish and an individual time trial. Carlos Sastre managed to become #4 overall in Vuelta a España after starting out in the lead when Team CSC won the initial team time trial. This was Sastre's fifth Grand Tour in a row.
With the exit of Ivan Basso, it was up to Carlos Sastre along with the Classics riders to create the results in 2007. New rider Juan José Haedo gave the team a good start by winning several early minor races. The classics season was made a success simply by having Stuart O'Grady win Paris - Roubaix, thus defending Fabian Cancellaras win from 2006. Later Jens Voigt also managed to defend his victory in Tour of Germany. Thanks to a strong team showing throughout the year, Team CSC won the UCU ProTour team competition for the third year in a row.
For the Grand Tours, Carlos Sastre was provided a team solely dedicated to him for the Vuelta, while the team for the Tour was composed of both support riders, and riders that could make individual results. This left the Giro without any clear rider for the general classification. Instead a mostly youth oriented team was chosen, with the hope that Andy Schleck who had had some promising results last fall, might be able to compete in the youth competition. He managed to surpass both the expectations and hope by not only winning the youth competition, but also get number 2 in the general classification.
For the Tour, Fabian Cancellara followed up a strong showing in his home countries Tour de Suisse by two stage wins and seven days in the yellow jersey. Sadly, when the race hit the mountains, the doping scandals returned. The two major being pre-race favorite Alexander Vinokourov being tested positive for doping, and race leader Michael Rasmussen being withdrawn by the team for "internal code violations". Nonetheless, the race went on, with Carlos Sastre being among the strongest in the mountains (but clearly behind both Michael Rasmussen and eventual winner Alberto Contador), but lost enough in the time trials to end as #4, significantly outside the range of the podium, his goal for the race.
For the Vuelta, Sastre again lost significant time in the time trials, especially the first, but thanks to a strong and bold ride of him and his team, he managed to climb to the second place in the general classification. The winner and race leader for most of the race, Denis Menchov, was never seriously threatened though.
CSC announced that they would not renew the contract in spring 2008, meaning Riis Cycling A/S would need a new main sponsor from 2009. Mid-june, Riis Cycling A/S announced that Saxo Bank had entered a three year contract as name sponsor, starting immediately. The team would then ride 2008 Tour de France as Team CSC Saxo Bank.
From 2009, IT Factory will be co-sponsor.
|Kurt Asle Arvesen||1975||Team Fakta||2004||2009|
|Michael Blaudzun||1973||Team Telekom||1999||2008|
|Matti Breschel||1984||Team Gls||2005||2010|
|Fabian Cancellara||1981||Fassa Bortolo||2006||2011|
|Íñigo Cuesta||1969||Saunier Duval||2006||2008|
|Jurgen Van Goolen||1980||Discovery Channel||2008||2009|
|Matthew Goss||1986||South Australia.com – AIS||2007||2009|
|Volodymir Gustov||1977||Fassa Bortolo||2006||2008|
|Juan José Haedo||1981||Toyota-United||2007||2011|
|Bobby Julich||1971||Team Telekom||2004||2008|
|Jason McCartney||1973||Discovery Channel||2008||2009|
|Bradley McGee||1976||Française des Jeux||2008||2008|
|Carlos Sastre||1975||Team ONCE||2002||2008|
|Chris Anker Sørensen||1984||neo-pro||2007||2010|
|Nicki Sørensen||1975||Team Fakta||2001||2009|
|Jens Voigt||1971||Crédit Agricole||2004||2009|
|Jonathan Bellis||1988||neo-pro / stagiaire||2009|
|Jakob Fuglsang||1985||Team Designa Køkken||2009||2010|
|Alex Rasmussen||1984||Team Designa Køkken||2009|
From the 2008 team, Michael Blaudzun and Bobby Julich retires, Carlos Sastre leaves for Cervélo Test Team, Gustav Larsson leaves for Caisse d'Epargne, and Allan Johansen left mid-season for Team Designa Køkken. As per 2008-09-12, the contractual fate of Íñigo Cuesta, Volodymir Gustov, Alexandre Kolobnev, and Bradley McGee is still unknown.
|Bjarne Riis||1964||rider for Team Telekom||2000|
|Kim Andersen||1958||Team Fakta||2004|
|Alain Gallopin||1957||Team Bianchi||2004|
|Scott Sunderland||1966||Team Fakta||2004|
|Dan Frost||1961||track racing||2006|
|Jørgen V. Pedersen||1959||Key Account Manager for Team CSC||2007|
|Torsten Schmidt||1972||rider for Team Wiesenhof-Felt||2007|
|Lars Michaelsen||1969||rider for Team CSC||2007|
|Ivan Basso||1977||Fassa Bortolo||2004||2006||Discovery Channel|
|Jakob Piil||1973||Acceptcard||2000||2006||T-Mobile Team|
|Tristan Hoffman||1970||TVM||2000||2006||Sports director for CSC in 2006, then Team T-Mobile|
|Michele Bartoli||1970||Fassa Bortolo||2004||2004||Retired|
|Tyler Hamilton||1971||U.S. Postal||2002||2003||Phonak|
|Michael Rasmussen||1974||mountain biking||2002||2002||Rabobank|
|Laurent Jalabert||1968||Team ONCE||2001||2002||Retired|
|Bo Hamburger||1970||Cantina Tollo||2000||2001||Index Alexia|
|Jesper Skibby||1964||TVM||1998||2000||PR for Team CSC|
|2001-07-11||Stage 4, 2001 Tour de France||Laurent Jalabert|
|2001-07-14||Stage 7, 2001 Tour de France||Laurent Jalabert|
|2001-08-11||Clásica de San Sebastián||Laurent Jalabert|
|2002-05-26||Stage 14, Giro d'Italia||Tyler Hamilton|
|2002-08-10||Clásica de San Sebastián||Laurent Jalabert|
|2003-07-15||Stage 10, 2003 Tour de France||Jakob Piil|
|2003-07-19||Stage 13, 2003 Tour de France||Carlos Sastre|
|2003-07-23||Stage 16, 2003 Tour de France||Tyler Hamilton|
|2004-07-16||Stage 12, 2004 Tour de France||Ivan Basso|
|2005-03-13||2005 Paris-Nice||Bobby Julich|
|2005-05-15||Stage 8, 2005 Giro d'Italia||David Zabriskie|
|2005-05-26||Stage 17, 2005 Giro d'Italia||Ivan Basso|
|2005-05-27||Stage 18, 2005 Giro d'Italia||Ivan Basso|
|2005-07-02||Stage 1, 2005 Tour de France||David Zabriskie|
|2005-08-10||2005 Eneco Tour of Benelux|| ||Bobby Julich|
|2005-09-15||Stage 18, 2005 Vuelta a España||Nicki Sørensen|
|2006-04-09||2006 Paris-Roubaix||Fabian Cancellara|
|2006-04-16||2006 Amstel Gold Race||Fränk Schleck|
|2006-05-11||Stage 5 (TTT), 2006 Giro d'Italia||Team CSC|
|2006-05-14||Stage 8, 2006 Giro d'Italia||Ivan Basso|
|2006-05-23||Stage 16, 2006 Giro d'Italia||Ivan Basso|
|2006-05-27||Stage 20, 2006 Giro d'Italia||Ivan Basso|
|2006-05-28||Overall, 2006 Giro d'Italia||Ivan Basso|
|2006-06-18||2006 Eindhoven Team Time Trial||Team CSC|
|2006-07-15||Stage 13, 2006 Tour de France||Jens Voigt|
|2006-07-18||Stage 15, 2006 Tour de France||Fränk Schleck|
|2006-08-09||2006 Deutschland Tour||Jens Voigt|
|2006-08-26||Stage 1 (TTT), 2006 Vuelta a España||Team CSC|
|2007-04-15||2007 Paris-Roubaix||Stuart O'Grady|
|2007-05-20||Stage 8, 2007 Giro d'Italia||Kurt Asle Arvesen|
|2007-06-24||2007 Eindhoven Team Time Trial||Team CSC|
|2007-07-07||Prologue, 2007 Tour de France||Fabian Cancellara|
|2007-07-10||Stage 3, 2007 Tour de France||Fabian Cancellara|
|2007-08-18||2007 Deutschland Tour||Jens Voigt|
|2008-03-18||2008 Tirreno-Adriatico||Fabian Cancellara|
|2008-03-22||2008 Milan-Sanremo||Fabian Cancellara|
|2008-07-16||Stage 11, 2008 Tour de France||Kurt Asle Arvesen|
|2008-07-23||Stage 17, 2008 Tour de France||Carlos Sastre|
|2008-07-27||2008 Tour de France||Carlos Sastre|