Johan Bruyneel, the head man of the RadioShack Nissan-Trek squad, has made another mandate as part of the Man Up program designed to toughen Andy Schleck.
A month ago Bruyneel confiscated all the leftover Leopard scarves, then later brought over Lance Armstrong’s person fragrance coach to develop a more masculine scent for the perennial Tour de France runner-up. Shortly thereafter he insisted that Schleck take up boxing.
Now, Bruyneel has decided that the younger Schleck will room with Markel Irizar. The Spanish rider, who suffered massive facial injuries just days ago during a training ride, is seen as a tough guy who can help instill Schleck with more fighting spirit.
“Look at Markel’s face — broken jaw, bruised eye, his face ripped to shreds and the guy still wants to get back on the bike immediately,” said DS Dirk Demol. “That’s the attitude Andy needs. You should see the dent Markel put in the pavement. The guy is a bad-ass.”
Bruyneel reportedly put Irizar with Schleck hoping that some of that mental toughness will rub off on Schleck. It’s been clear from the first team get-together that the Belgian, who guided Lance Armstrong to seven Tour victories, sees the former Leopard riders as soft.
In fact, Bruyneel has also scrutinizes Andy Schleck’s bedding and removed several items he considered too cozy. “There was a down comforter that Johan wasn’t too crazy about. It just looked foofy,” said Demol. “Andy likes a lot of extra little pillows and we cut it back to two regular size ones. It just all sets a tone, you know — an attitude.”
So far, the Schleck Man Up program has met with mixed results. There was a serious set-back after Schleck’s un-manly pillow fights. Still, the talented climber is committed to Bruyneel’s new approach. “If you ask me in June, I could tell you more,” said Schleck.