To the surprise of several team officials and riders on the Omega-Pharma Quickstep, a homeless man has apparently taken over the team from DS Brian Holm.
Magnus Skarsgaard, an itinerant worker released from a halfway house in Stockholm last year, is now in charge of the WorldTour squad.
“We don’t know exactly what happened. One day Brian was here and then he disappeared and this guy with the crazy beard showed up,” said Niki Terpstra. “He almost looks like Holm but only if Holm just got out of an insane asylum.”
At this point, Holm’s whereabouts are unclear and team officials reiterated that there’s no cause for panic or alarm. “Brian is gone, we don’t know where. The police are making inquiries and so we remain calm,” said team manager Patrick Lefevere.
The powerhouse Omega-Pharma Quickstep team is in final preparations for the Tour of Flanders with Tom Boonen tipped as one of the favorites to win. It remains to be seen how the strange exit of the well-respected Holm will affect the outcome of the Ronde which takes place this Sunday.
Boonen himself has made an attempt to speak with Skarsgaard in an effort to sort out the situation. “At first he just jabbers and looks at you with these crazy wild eyes,” said Boonen. “Then after he’s done raving like a lunatic he gets calm and some of his racing advice is sound. He has this manic hatred of Sagan and it’s pretty funny.”
Frenchman Sylvain Chavanel appeared unfazed by the arrival of Skarsgaard. “He is living in the bus right now and at first the bad smells were overpowering but nothing worse than a Paris subway car in August. He has cleaned himself up and is fairly presentable,” said Chavanel. “Really, it is no big thing and it doesn’t matter to me if Brian or Magnus is in the team car directing.”
Still, at least one informed source believes the wild man in the beard isn’t a mystery. “I know it’s Brian — he’s just fooling with everybody,” said Jesper Skibby, a Danish rider who raced with Holm back in the day. “Holm is a crazy guy. That’s him under the beard.”