New beginning rumoured for Schlecks on team backed by Trek and German sponsor
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Saturday, June 23, 2012

New beginning rumoured for Schlecks on team backed by Trek and German sponsor

by VeloNation Press at 3:15 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Could the brothers be heading elsewhere in 2013?

andy SchleckBoth brothers have shown frustration this season with elements of the RadioShack Nissan team and how it is managed; now, if suggestions are correct, Andy and Frank Schleck could be moving to a new setup next season. L’Equipe reported today that in addition to interest shown by Katusha and Astana, that a new setup in Germany could be formed around the duo.

The French newspaper suggests that current RadioShack Nissan sponsor Trek would be a big part of the structure, as well as a German co-sponsor which remains unnamed at this point. In addition to that, it states that the Schlecks’ longtime directeur sportif Kim Andersen would accompany them to the setup.

It adds that several German riders have already been contacted in relation to this.

The story is an interesting one, not least because there are murmurs that Trek may be frustrated with the current arrangement. It moved across to the old Leopard Trek structure over the winter, as did sponsors RadioShack and Nissan, but efforts to have all three named in the title were blocked by the UCI, which limits such names to two. As a result Trek has lost out on the exposure it was hoping for.

One of the company’s big rivals Cannondale has a naming position as part of the Liquigas team, while another competitor Specialized enjoys the exposure of backing the Saxo Bank, Omega Pharma Quick Step, Astana and Specialized lululemon squads.

If Trek can be part of the title of a team with both Schlecks at the helm, it could be a strong way for it to fight back against such rivals and increase its market share.

Both Schlecks had signed a longer-term contract with the Leopard setup prior to the start of the 2011 season. While they are in theory bound by that, there are rumours that the team’s big backer Flavio Becca is in financial difficulty; if true, he may welcome the chance to get out early, or at least to reduce his financial commitment to the squad.

The weeks ahead will show if there is truth to the story or not; under UCI rules, transfers are not able to be revealed until August 1st, and so supporters of the brothers must wait a little over one month to find out if they will indeed be leading a completely new setup in 2013.

In the meantime, Frank Schleck will do his utmost to ride well in the Tour de France. Andersen has played down his chances for the race, saying that the course doesn’t suit him due to the preponderance of time trials and also claiming that he is tired after riding most of the Giro, the Tour of Luxembourg and the Tour de Suisse. However Schleck was second in the latter and didn’t ride like an athlete on his last legs; even if the time trials make it difficult for him to finish in the top three as he did last year, he should be one of the strongest in the mountains.

His brother Andy will miss the race due to a fractured sacrum; also absent will be RadioShack Nissan general manager Johan Bruyneel, who yesterday announced that he would not be present at the Tour due to the ongoing USADA allegations of doping against him.

He had earlier told Andersen that he would not be part of the Tour management team, leading to frustration on the part of the ex-pro and also the two Schleck brothers, who are close to him.

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