Cycling: Riis steps down as team manager of NTT Pro Cycling

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(Reuters) - Troubled WorldTour team NTT Pro Cycling have announced that manager Bjarne Riis is to step down from his role.

The Danish former rider joined the African-based team at the start of the year and departs by mutual consent.

"I'd like to thank Bjarne for the experience and leadership that he has brought to our environment, and the contribution he has made. We'd like to wish him all the very best for the future," team principal Douglas Ryder said in a statement.

The team, founded by South African former pro Ryder in 2007 and the first African team to compete at the Tour de France, is fighting for it's future after NTT announced it was withdrawing at title sponsor.

The statement said Riis and his partners, Jan Bech Andersen and Lars Seier Christensen, had ended discussions with Ryder about a purchase of a part of NTT Pro Cycling.

"Further updates regarding the sustainability of our team will follow in due course," the team said.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Christian Radnedge)