Leopard Trek out to recruit a Classics team for Fabian Cancellara
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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Leopard Trek out to recruit a Classics team for Fabian Cancellara

by Ben Atkins at 2:09 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Spring Classics
Brian Nygaard negotiating with riders’ agents at the Tour de France

brian nygaardLeopard Trek’s general manager Brian Nygaard is on the lookout for some capable teammates for Fabian Cancellara’s 2012 Classics campaign, according to feltet.dk. The Swiss champion, who did the Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix double in 2010, found himself outgunned in both races this spring as the more powerful teams managed to isolate what everyone regarded as the most powerful rider.

The Luxembourg-registered team is built around the Tour de France ambitions of Fränk and Andy Schleck, although Cancellara was still expected to be able to flourish in the Classics.

"Fabian Cancellara was too isolated in the finals,” Nygaard admitted to Ekstra Bladet, “and some riders had not hit their best form.”

International Cycling Union (UCI) regulations prevent any new contracts to be signed with riders during the Tour de France, but this doesn’t prevent teams speaking to their representatives; this is what Nygaad has been doing a great deal during the first week of the race.

“I can talk to all the agents I want,” he said, “but I can’t come to any agreements with the riders.

“It’s a rule that must be respected,” he added.

Leopard Trek did have other accomplished Classics riders in the team this spring, including 2007 Paris-Roubaix winner Stuart O’Grady and recently deceased Wouter Weylandt. It was not to be enough though, and Cancellara found himself all alone when the action started; in Paris-Roubaix, the Garmin-Cervélo team put eventual winner Johan Vansummeren in the break and dared the Swiss rider to drag World champion Thor Hushovd up to him.

He refused and the race was lost, but in 2012 Nygaard plans for things to be different.


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