Alberto is bubbly.
In the final week leading up to the Tour de France, his number one competitor Andy Schleck hands him a huge present: Saxo Bank breaking apart. You don’t think Alberto just popped the cork on some killer Rioja and is pouring a taste for Vino?
Saxo bank boss Bjarne Riis confirmed that Frank and Andy Schleck will exit his team at the end of the season to create a new team in Luxembourg run by his former directeur sportif Kim Andersen– who he just terminated. EL Pistolero hasn’t even fired his gun yet and bodies all already dropping.
Now Saxo Bank, which was until that bombshell considered a powerhouse squad, goes to the Tour de France in turmoil. Divided loyalties, riders hunting for jobs, distrust, acrimony, unity gone.
This was not what Andy needed going up against Alberto Contador. We have no idea what’s going thru his head but this news should never have happened until July 25th when Schleck was standing on the top step of the podium. This is an ugly, dumb and unfortunate move for the Schlecks and we’ll also say that Kim Andersen didn’t show much class. The man was on the Saxo payroll but using the workweek to build his new team in secret.
There was a question that Mr. Schleck should have asked himself: what’s more important — giving myself the best chance to win the tour or speeding up the timetable on my new Luxembourg adventure? Can’t do both, boys. Lance Armstrong is shaking his head and itching to tweet — something like “There is no A in team. Your director sportif Andersen just got canned.”
Schleck was relying on the power of his squad, a far strong one that Contador has at his own disposal, to help him batter the Spaniard at every turn. He needed them focused 1000% percent on the task at hand. He needed Bjarne Riis and Andersen working together, scheming strategy deep into the night. A house divided will fall and Contador will enjoy watching the roof collapse.
Last year the circus was Lance and Alberto. This year it looks like Andy will be answering plenty of questions after every stage and that drains energy and focus. Was Luxembourg really greater than France?