Team RadioShack-Nissan-Trek went from 2012 Tour de France general classification (GC) contenders with Andy Schleck to a team in complete disarray within a few weeks.
I already briefly discussed the potential of the team falling apart prior to the tour, but it could be worse than previously thought. Danish climber and super domestique, Jakob Fuglsang is clearly displeased by being left off the Tour squad, especially after winning the Tour of Luxembourg earlier in the season.
The Dane offered this statement to Sporten.dk (via VeloNation):
“Of course I'm disappointed with it and I think I should have a place on the team. If you look at my form and my results, I cannot see that there are nine riders who are better. It’s not because of my condition or that the results have not been there; I feel in good shape and I think I have also shown some good results in the Tour of Luxembourg and the Tour of Switzerland.”
If RadioShack-Nissan-Trek isn’t going to give him the opportunity to ride for himself, he should be able to sign with a different team and ride well.
Fuglsang had this to say to Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten (via CyclingNews):
“I have to consider and find out where I can get the position of captain, which I must have to achieve the results that I dream about. It is difficult, because all teams have one or maybe two captains, but there are teams where it could be easier.”
I don’t know if Fuglsang can be a true Tour de France GC contender, but there are plenty of other stage races where he should be able to ride for himself. He was supposed to lead the RadioShack Giro team in May, but had to withdraw due to a knee problem.
The team originally left Chris Horner off the Tour squad, only to allow him on the team when Andy Schleck was injured. Frank Schleck is the likely new GC contender – and he’s a solid climber – but his legs may be fried after being in peak form for a big portion of the cycling season. Horner and Andreas Klöden may be called upon to ride well as protected riders, but neither of them will likely be able to crack the top five in this tour.
As the riders race through France in July, I’m sure any type of internal team issues will be ignored for the time being. However, with team manager Johan Bruyneel under threat from a USADA investigation, and the Schleck brothers reportedly interested in leaving (via L'Equipe), the expected powerhouse team may dissolve.