Johan Bruyneel is now only seven riders short of a full team roster for the 2012 Tour de France. Bravo, mon pote! The three week shindig in France is less than a month away so that’s good news for the Electronic Gizmo-Car-Bike squad.
In recent weeks the manager of the RadioShack Nissan-Trek squad has insisted that only classics star Fabian Cancellara deserves to take the start in Liege. The implication was that nobody else — not Andy or Frank Schleck, not Chris Horner, not Andreas Kloden — had done a damn thing worthy of riding Le Tour.
Well, The Shack now welcomes Jakob Fuglsang to France! Thanks to his overall win in the Tour of Luxembourg, the Dane has surely impressed Bruyneel. So things are really starting to take shape — Cancellara and Fuglsang, you’re headed to La Grand Boucle, baby. If only for amusement purposes, it’s worth noting that both riders are from the Leopard side of the shot-gun wedding. So far, none of Bruyneel’s boys have delivered the goods.
You have to think that former Leopard manager Brian Nygaard, kicked to the curb by team owner Flavio Becca, is getting a few laughs out of the disappointing race results. When the merger happened, Alberto Contador admitted he feared the combined grand tour super-team. While Fuglsang and Cancellara are both immensely talented athletes, a RadioShack Nissan Trek Lite team isn’t going to terrify Wiggins or Evans.
The Gazzetta Dello Rumoro reports that Bruyneel is trying to cut a deal with other Tour team Saur Sojasun for their riders to ferry water bottles and food to Cancellara and Fuglsang. While the double duty will put a strain on resources for the French squad, the lack of a GC contender means they may be able to provide support for Bruyneel’s team should he decide that no other riders merit selection to the RadioShack Nissan-Trek team.
The public feuding between the Schlecks and Bruyneel has hit new lows of late with Bryuneel using the media to criticize and perhaps motivate the two climbers. The Belgian was less than satisfied with Frank Schleck after he quit the Giro d’Italia because of a shoulder injury sustained in a crash.
Andy Schleck has taken an increasingly vocal stance over Bruyneel’s pointed critiques. “Personally, if I was a manager I wouldn’t try to solve problems with my riders through the press,” said Schleck. “I would discuss them internally. Maybe Bruyneel was being rushed by the team sponsors, who might be getting impatient.” Sounds like Flavio Becca as home wrecka.
Twisted Spoke hopes that Johan Bruyneel can staff those remaining seven open positions on his Tour de France roster. Two guys just aren’t really gonna get the job done. Andy, Frank, make some noise, it’s time to impress papa Bruyneel.