Bruyneel concedes 2011 RadioShack team won’t be Tour favourites, but will be motivated to succeed
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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bruyneel concedes 2011 RadioShack team won’t be Tour favourites, but will be motivated to succeed

by VeloNation Press at 4:52 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Tour Down Under and Majorca Challenge will be first races for US ProTeam

Johan BruyneelFor many years Johan Bruyneel and his various teams went into the season with one major goal in mind: the Tour de France. While directing the US Postal Service, Discovery Channel and Astana teams, his riders won nine editions of the race, via the achievements of Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador.

That was also the target for 2010, but Team RadioShack failed to perform in the race and a battle-scarred Armstrong was a distant 23rd overall. Chris Horner was best-placed of the riders in tenth.

The 2011 season is just over a week away and Bruyneel has suggested that the team will adopt a more general approach over the months ahead. “Though we won't be one of the favorites at the Tour de France this year, it hasn't taken away from the team's motivation to win races and make a statement,” he said in his online blog. “The energy is good and the morale is high!”

The team features a number of strong young riders, including Criterium du Dauphiné victor Jani Brajkovic. Bruyneel’s downplaying of Tour expectations may reflect a desire to keep the pressure off the Slovenian, or alternatively he might feel that it is not realistic for him to go into the race as one of the big guns.

Armstrong intends only doing a handful of competitive events, with next month’s Santos Tour Down Under being his last overseas appearance in the pro peloton. While he is a possible entrant in the Tour of California and Quiznos Pro Challenge, his emphasis will shift to triathlon.

The 39 year old recently got together with his US-based team-mates, while the remainder of the team met up elsewhere. “We had two training camps this year…one in the USA with our American riders and the other in Europe with everyone else,” said Bruyneel. “Though I prefer to have everyone together, it was just easier for the Americans to stay closer to home. We had a great camp in Europe - got in some quality training rides, had some fun team-building activities (hiking and go-carts) and met with the individual riders about schedules, goals, etc.

“Our first race, like the last few years will be the Tour Down Under. It will be Lance's last international race, so it will be a good one to catch. We'll also have Manuel Cardoso, Ben Hermans, Markel Irizar, Jason McCartney, Gregory Rast and Sebastian Rosseler there. After that race, we'll be hosting our second training camp in Mallorca, which will lead up to the Mallorca Challenge.”

He said that the rest of the schedule will be disclosed when things are finalised with race organisers. There is also a degree of uncertainty about the team due to the ongoing federal investigation into Bruyneel, Armstrong and others during their time with US Postal. A conclusion to that enquiry is expected early in the New Year.

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