The bromance is over.
It was a bitter Andy Schleck who announced today that his best-buddy relationship with Alberto Contador is finished. At issue, the phony warm hug that wasn’t.
“I have my arm on his shoulder, but I am not doing anything. It was his way of saying, look, we are friends,” said Schleck. According to the tour runner-up, that Tourmalet hug was staged by the Spaniard.
All men know these things: If another guy hugs you, you place your arm on his shoulder BUT you do not under any circumstances move it. This non-motion sends a clear signal: I’m not your pal.
Schleck admitted that as far as he’s concerned, Contador’s attack during Andy’s chain-crisis was the difference between winning and losing the Tour de France. “Without this incident, he wouldn’t have gotten away,” Schleck said. “I have regrets.”
The fake hug rankles the Luxemberger, the bromance is over and the knives are finally out. “He knows what I think of him,” said Schleck. “And he knows that if we find ourselves in the Tour, I won’t wait for mechanical trouble.”
The break-up comes as a surprise given Schleck’s stated friendship with Alberto Contador. What happened to the smiling photos together, Andy pleading with fans not to boo Contador for lack of sportsmanship, his offer to join his on a fishing trip with brother Frank. Schleck went out of his way to offer words of support as Contador deals with a possible doping suspension. Now, the party is over.
The Schleck-Contador man-pal relationship has been hotly debated ever since the Tour ended. Was Andy too passive, was the Spaniard playing psychological games, was it appropriate to be good friends with an arch rival? The combative Bernard Hinault thought is was embarrassing and ridiculous, Armstrong shook his head, cycling forums called Schleck a wimp. He needed to man-up if he planned to step up to first place.
Maybe it was simply time to cut ties. With rumors of Contador being handed a one year suspension as soon as tomorrow, perhaps Andy Schleck decided a bromance with a convicted rider was a bad idea.
When it came to winning the Tour de France, Hinault famously said “pas de cadeau.” No gifts. In this case, no hugs wither.