2012 Tour de France general classification (GC) hopeful Frank Schleck is one of the best stage racers in the world—and he could be taking his services from Team RadioShack-Nissan to a rumored German-backed team currently in the works.
Both Schleck and his younger brother Andy have contracts with the disheveled RadioShack-Nissan team until 2014. However, unpaid salaries, diminished team unity prior to the 2012 Tour de France and issues between the Schlecks and team manager Johan Bruyneel may help the team unravel faster (via Bleacher Report).
Here is what Schleck had to say when asked about the rumors of a new team (via VeloNews):
I have said this many times and I will say it again. We have a contract through 2014. That’s two more years. We always respect our contracts.
It’s interesting that the Schleck brothers and several other riders are rumored to be interested in developing a new German-based cycling team (via CyclingNews).
The German shampoo company Alpecin is rumored to become the main sponsor of a WorldTour team, and will utilize Trek bikes—the current partner of Team RadioShack-Nissan—and riders like Jakob Fuglsang are anxious to get off the RadioShack-Nissan team.
German riders Linus Gerdemann and cycling veteran Jens Voigt are also rumored to be potential riders for the still-unannounced team.
If true, the new team has to have sponsors and official backers in place by September, and must also fill out necessary paperwork with the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) organization. It seems unlikely so much can be done in such a short period, but it wouldn't be completely unheard of.
If the Schleck brothers seriously want to get out of their contracts, a new team may have the legal firepower to help arrange a contract buyout.