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The Rouleur Longreads Podcast: Being Bjarne by Morten Okbo

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Three years spent pinning down Bjarne Riis but Morten finally lands the big fish. Our man Okbo in conversation with the 1996 Tour winner and team owner – a man of few words with much to say

Words:
Photographs: Fredrik Clement

“I was told by everyone that I was bad. Bjarne won but he is bad. He is a bad man. All the newspapers. People in cycling. Everyone. I’m a cheat. I lie. That name. For years and years this was my story. It was my life. You almost start to believe it. You have to understand that I stood alone when it all came down. A young man. I didn’t have that much life experience. And nothing about how to handle this! How are you supposed to react? The consequences are unimaginable to understand. Telekom left me. I had nobody around me that could help. Like with many other riders. It does something to a person. Being in that position.”


Tour triumph, doping, depression, the end of managing his world-beating team: it’s not easy being Bjarne Riis. Our man Morten tracks him down for an interview after a three-year chase.


The Rouleur Longreads Podcast brings you selected long form articles from the magazine, especially recorded for Rouleur. Don’t stop what you’re doing – do it while listening to the world’s best cycling writing.


The latest in this series is ‘Being Bjarne’ by Morten Okbo, from Rouleur 19.8. Download the Rouleur app and use the code BJARNE to read the whole issue free of charge.


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More Rouleur long reads

Greg LeMond by Andy McGrath
Teniel Campbell by Andy McGrath
The Crash by Pedro Horrillo
Deserter’s Dirty Weekend in Koksijdeh
Watopian Ideals by Ian Cleverly
The Rise of Gravel by Hugo Gladstone
Notes on Belgium by Morten Okbo
Heartbroken by Emil Helweg Foget and Ole Obitsø
Chris Froome and the Seventh Circle by Ned Boulting


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