Andy Schleck withdraws from Canadian GP
A tooth infection has prompted Andy Schleck to bow out of upcoming Grand Prix Cycliste, while new rumours about a team merger persist.
This Friday and Sunday, Canada will host absolute world cycling stars at their second edition of the Grand Prix in Quebec City and Montreal. However, Tour de France runnerup Andy Schleck won't make it to the start line.
The Leopard-Trek team announced that the rider had been seriously suffering from a wisdom tooth infection, leaving him no other option but to undergo an operation. “An infection of the root of the tooth during the Tour of Colorado caused complications that demanded a minor but critical surgery,” explained the team.
“I regret pulling out of these two races as I adore racing in North America and I was very excited about the idea of being in these two Canadian events,” continued Andy Schleck.
GPCQM organiser Serge Arsenault said: “It’s disappointing but we understand his decision. We wish Andy to be healthy, as we hope to see him on our circuits next year.”
The end of Leopard-Trek?
While Andy recuperates, rumours about a possible merger between cycling teams Leopard-Trek and RadioShack are bubbling on. On Monday, the French sports newspaper “L'Equipe” already proclaimed “the end” of Luxembourg's cycling team Leopard-Trek.
According to the well-respected magazine “L'Equipe”, Flavio Becca, financial backer of Leopard-Trek will announce the dissolution of the team. The report further states that 11 of the 25 riders in Leopard-Trek have been instructed to seek new contracts elsewhere for the 2012 season, - although only Jens Voigt's contract would have expired this year.
Among those affected are thought to be Brice Feillu, Fabian Wegmann, Thomas Rohregger, Martin Mortensen, Martin Pedersen, Tom Stamsnijder, Bruno Pires, Anders Lund and Davide Vigano.
So far, Leopard-Trek sports director Kim Anderson has not commented on the possible merger. Manager Bryan Nygaard also refuses to comment. The Dane is expected to leave the team next year and serve as head of communications for Australian team GreedEdge.
“I'm like you, I read the newspaper too”
Nor are their any useful reactions available from potential team partner RadioShack. Manager Johan Bruyneel reportedly said: “I'm like you, I read the newspaper too”.
Expiring contracts were not renewed in this team either, while top driver Levi Leipheimer already came to an agreement with the team Omega-Quick Step.
If rumours prove true it would mean that in 2012 Frank and Andy Schleck would race for the newly founded RadioShack-Trek and Flavio Becca would remain committed. Becca would however reduce his investments by half of its previous commitments, so the newspaper speculates. Italian media had previously already reported of finacial agreements reached in Luxembourg.
Some riders and officials of the affected teams now fear for their jobs and that existing contracts might not be respected in the case of a team merger. In any case, tensions are inevitable. And from the side of those responsible, no one wants to comment...