Bruyneel Quits, What’s Next?

Today brought the news that Johan Bruyneel will stop as general manager of the Radioshack-Nissan team. The decision seems obvious given his name appears 129 times in the USADA reasoned decision but note today’s team press release said he “contests the validity of the procedure as well as the charges against him.”

Yet there good grounds for his departure before the USADA report was published, for example the team’s dismal performance. And if he’s gone, there’s still a team in need of new direction plus the removal of one director on one team only makes us look at the other squads.

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Monday Shorts

Frank Schleck

Today Jakob Fuglsang said the Radioshack-Leopard team merger had been a “disaster”. That’s true but it’s only a fraction of the team’s problems. Star rider Fabian Cancellera wore yellow in the Tour and Tony Gallopin is impressing me, even if Thibaut Pinot outshone him in July. But of course Cancellara’s spring campaign was ruined by a crash, Andy Schleck has had a year to forget. There’s also the case of Johan Bruyneel and team doctor Pedro Celaya being named by USADA. A team sponsor fled mid-season. And the chief executive of Radioshack has just quit too.

And this is before we get to the case of Frank Schleck. He’s had an uncomfortable start to the year with pressure from team management and a lack of results, even if he briefly shone in the Tour de Suisse. But the doping positive from the Tour de France overshadows all of this. It might seem like a long time away but we’re now one week from the verdict. Unless there’s a miracle he’ll be banned for two years.

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Enovos Quits Radioshack-Nissan Team

European energy company Enovos has been a co-sponsor of the Radioshack-Nissan team, starting with Leopard-Trek last year. But it has just announced it is walking away mid-season from the cycling team, publicly dropping its connections to the team. This is very rare in cycling and sport in general.

Here’s the press release translated into English:

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Riders Blocked From Racing

It looks like the perfect picture for a cycling team. A smiling rider stands tall on the podium, dressed in yellow with the team logos in evidence as the girls hold their pose for the cameras. Even his sunglasses are perched just right on the team-issue baseball cap. But there’s something wrong with the picture.

I’m not talking about the composition of the image. You might notice the podium girls haven’t zipped up their jerseys fully but it’s not that. No, the problem here is that Radioshack-Nissan’s Jakob Fuglsang has won a race and bizarrely this could prove damaging for the interests of his team.

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Can the Leopards change their spots?

What is going on inside Radioshack-Nissan? There’s been some bizarre debate in public between riders and management over who gets to be the directeur sportif during the Tour de France. But this seems to be about more than just picking a manager for one month.

Let’s go back to 2010 when the Schleck brothers were riding for Team Saxo Bank under Bjarne Riis. During the course of the season there were rumours the brothers were working on a project for a new team. These were denied but in time Leopard-Trek was created. Fränk Schleck in particular was one of the driving forces behind this.

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2012 team victory rankings

Wins Team
19 Omega Pharma – Quickstep
12 Liquigas – Cannondale
12 Team Sky
7 Lotto – Belisol
6 FDJ – BigMat
6 Garmin – Barracuda
6 Movistar
5 Greenedge
5 Vacansoleil – DCM
4 Katusha
3 Rabobank
2 Radioshack – Nissan
2 Saxo Bank
0 Ag2r – La Mondiale, Astana, BMC Racing, Euskaltel – Euskadi, Lampre – ISD

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Tour of California: invitations and exclusions

16 teams will take part in the Amgen Tour of California, from 13-20 May. The race organisers announced the invitations yesterday and the full list is available, for example on

As usual, without a pedal being turned there’s satisfaction for some squads but disappointment and frustration for others. I won’t analyse every team’s chances but the invitation of Bontrager-Livestrong and the non-invitation of Team Type 1 are worth evaluating. Here’s a look.

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2012 UCI Pro Teams

Professional cycling teams are ranked into three tiers. The top level is UCI Pro Team and the 18 teams here have automatic and obligatory access to the big races on the UCI’s World Tour calendar. In addition, there is a range of rules governing these teams that aim to ensure sporting and financial stability.

You’ll find the top-18 teams below, their sponsors explained plus riders and staff listed.

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Pro Tour paperwork

On Monday the UCI announced several teams had obtained Pro Tour licences for 2012, meaning they will be in the top division of cycling for the coming year. The full list and the press release is on the UCI website.

If there was plenty of satisfaction from the teams named, two squads were left looking less pleased:

The decisions concerning the GreenEDGE Cycling and RadioShack-Nissan teams will be announced later – the Commission is currently waiting for the teams to provide additional documents.

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