Rumors are flying, or should we say pedaling really fast.
Is Alberto Contador about to sign with Bjarne Riis and Saxo Bank. If so, we salute the genius of Riis for having the ability to always turn most every situation to his favor.
What, Andy Schleck and his brother Frank skipping out on you for their own private Luxembourg squad with your former and since fired director sportif? Difficulty lining up a big budget sponsor to keep the team going in the Shlexodus? Rest of the Saxo roster uneasy and wondering if they should blow doors, too?
Solution: sign up the biggest name in the sport, the three-time Tour de France winner, the guy that just beat Andy Schleck and the man most likely to keep your team on podium step one for the foreseeable future. Welcome Alberto Contador and chapeau Bjarne.
Before argyle genius Jonathan Vaughters showed up, Riis was the man, egghead number one, smarter, tactically astute, bring new training methods, team building ideas and technology. He took over Memory Card — if memory serves — then turned it into powerhouse CSC which morphed into the ProTour monster Saxo Bank.
Is Bjarne Riis about the pull the big Spanish rabbit out of his hat? What better way to say, good luck Andy and Frank setting up your own fantasy team. Sure, it’s a terrific and enticing project for the Schlecks but remember the cautionary tale of Carlos Sastre and Cervelo.
In retrospect, Carlos admitted that being involved with the creation of a new team from scratch was a time and energy suck that he felt when he got into the big bad, mountains. Being an entrepreneur took away from his ability to arrive at a grand tour, 100% focused and ready.
We hope the charming Brothers Schleck can pull it off, they’re swell guys and massive talents. However, beating Alberto Contador now requires a tremendous amount of time in the wind tunnel, not time devoted to the logistics of building a strong ProTour team.
You da man, Bjarne. You couldn’t beat Contador but you came up with the best fall back plan: hire him.