Getting Schleckered

Andy Schleck found himself and fellow Saxo Bank teammate Stuart O’Grady with some unexpected time off recently.  Riis has thrown the pair out of the Vuelta a Espana squad for breaking team rules.  The rule that was broken: no going out a getting Schleckered at the bar.

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Rumors of Shclecks, Radio Shack and fallback plans

Rumors abound.  I know it.  You know it.  And when the Tour de France ends, all cycling fans suddenly know it.  Yea – even here at JustAnotherCyclist it is easy to fall prey to a rumor (or two.)

But on the other hand – who can pass on a good rumor.

And what better way to feed a rumor than with a plausible failure scenario.  That is exactly what Frank and Andy Schleck are facing with their new Luxembourg team.  There are no guarantees that a new team will receive a UCI pro license and actually be able to race in major event.  Hell, even if you do get a pro license these days there are no gaurantees that you’ll be able to race – as Bruyneel learned when Team Radio Shack was denied entry into the forthcoming Veulta a Espana.

So the possibility that the new Schleck team won’t get a pro license is very real.  So what will the second place finisher in this year’s Tour de France do if that happens?  Apparently he and his brother will invoke their fall-back contracts and ride for Team Radio Shack, potentially filling the shoes of the now retired (again) Lance Armstrong.

Well, that’s the rumor at least.

Its OK Andy – I won’t shop at Mike’s Bikes any more

Hopefully Andy Schleck doesn’t shop at Mike’s Bikes.

I’ve actually shopped at this chain of bike shops quite a few times – the one here in Sacramento is actually quite nice with a great, friendly staff.  So I decided to check out the merchandise that they had on their website trying to show my daughter some of the options available for her Single Speed project.

Unfortunately, my window browsing excursion was shortened when I ran across this monstrosity of an ad on the Mike’s Bikes website:

OK.  So I guess this is supposed to be somehow funny?  I just don’t get the joke myself.  So, what – if Andy had gotten a proper tuneup from Mike’s Bikes then he wouldn’t have dropped his chain and may have won the Tour de France?  Is that the implication?

Sorry, Mr. Mike (if that is your real name) but think what you want about the chain incident in the Tour de France, no one but you is implying that it was due to a faulty tune up.

I’m looking for my daughter’s wheels somewhere else now!

Disclaimer:  This post is only partially tongue-in-cheek, partially humorous, and partially thought out.

HTC Columbia’s Holmes considering move

The Danish website TV2 Sporten is reporting that Brian Holmes – currently of HTC Columbia – will move to work with the new Luxembourg based team of Frank and Andy Schleck.  Brian’s contract with HTC Columbia expires at the end of this season.  From the english translation of the original post, Brian Holmes is quoted as saying:

If you had asked me last week, I would have confirmed that I stop on HTC-Columbia. But I said to Brian Nygaard (CEO of Team Luxembourg, ed) that I need a couple extra days to think about me in

Top Spanish rider absent from top Spanish race

The Vuelta a Espana (or Tour of Spain) may be slightly lopsided this year.  This year’s Tour de France winner Alberto Contador, who is also the holder of the current UCI #1 world ranking, will not be participating in this year’s Vuelta.  Contador’s contract with current team Astana ends right in the middle of the 3 week race, and Contador has already announced his move from Astana to Saxo Bank-Sungard for the next season.

Also absent from this year’s Veulta is Team Radio Shack.  Bruyneel’s team was denied a wildcard spot in the race – apparently for not being a “good enough team” to compete.

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The Saxodus continues

The Saxodus continues as more and more people confirm that they are leaving Saxo Bank for other teams.  Here’s a quick rundown of current migrations:

  • Frank Schleck – “I’ll go where Andy goes!”
  • Andy Schleck – “I’ll go where Frank goes!”
  • Frank-n-Andy Schleck – New Luxembourg team.  Sponsor still TBD.
  • Jens Voigt – Confirmed to be leaving Saxo Bank.  Most indications are that he is going to join the Frank-n-Andy endeavor, but that has not been confirmed at the time of this writing.
  • Jakob Fuglsang – Moving with Frank-n-Andy
  • Steuart O’Grady- Moving with Frank-n-Andy
  • Matti Breschel – Transfering his accounts from one bank to another, Matti is moving from Saxo Bank to Rabobank.

That makes six out of the nine Saxo Bank riders in the 2010 Tour de France that are heading for other teams – 5 of them apparently to the same new team.  Fabian Cencellara still has one year remaining on his contract with Saxo Bank, and of course Alberto Contador has signed on to the newly names Saxo Bank-Sungard team for two years.

Indications of Voigt joining Schlecks on new team

The Danish website TV2 Sporten is reporting (English translation here) that there are indications Jens Voigt will possibly be leaving the current Team Saxo Bank to join Frank and Andy Schleck on their new Luxembourg team.  Reports are that Kim Anderson – former directeur sportif of Team Saxo Bank now working to help set up the new Luxembourg team – has contacted Jen Voigt about a possible spot.

VeloNews as confirmed the rumors that Alberto Contador will leave Astana to ride with Team Saxo Bank next season.  These moves are potentially setting up a repeat of this years Tour de France next year, with Andy Schleck again facing off against Alberto Contador.  In fact, Andy Schleck as already stated as much on the website andyschleck.com:

Next year I can turn the tables and win the Tour. I did a bad prologue this year and I have to admit that, but Fränk crashing out was a big loss. If there were two of us in the mountains it could have been so different. But now I know that I can beat Alberto and that gives me huge confidence and motivation for next year.

It is official: Schlecks will be on new team next year

VeloNews.com is reporting that Andy Schleck has officially confirmed that he and his brother Frank will be leaving the team currently known as Saxo Bank at the end of this season.

So, after first reporting that the brothers were leaving, and then reporting that wasn’t certain during the Tour de France, we’ve finally got more concrete, specific information.  Next year we will see a new pro cycling team out of Luxembourg, with Frank and Andy Schleck riding for their home country’s team.

Andy vs. Alberto Specialized commercial

I actually thought this was pretty damned funny:

Schleck brothers future still a question mark?

It was reported here at JustAnotherCyclist.com that the rumors of brothers Frank and Andy Schleck leaving the Riis Racing team (currently sponsored by Saxo Bank) at the end of this season were indeed true.  However, according to press releases by Bjarne Riis during the Tour de France, that may still not be set in stone.  It was revealed that SunGard - currently a minor sponsor of the team – would step up and fill the title sponsor role being vacated by Saxo Bank at the end of this season.  With this move, according to VeloNation:

With Sungard and the second, unnamed, sponsor on board, Riis will likely be able to afford to keep hold of the team’s two biggest assets: the Luxembourg brothers, Fränk and Andy Schleck. “We will continue at the same level,” said Riis, “We will still aim to be the World’s best cycling team.”

Andy Schleck, however, deflected direct questions and chose to focus on the current Tour de France by saying “Now we will get the Tour out of the way, then we will talk about it later in the year” (VeloNation)

It does not appear that this effects Bryan Nygaard’s plans to start a new pro cycling team based in Luxembourg.  It does, however, spur additional questions about exactly what theam the Schlecks will call home.