Leo-Shack Clue – the board game

August 31, 2011

I hope you all enjoyed me not writing for two weeks as much as I did.  In case you were expecting a follow-up on the biological passport, I want to be thorough so I sent a question to the UCI for clarification (you may remember they mentioned that a simple call could have solved any mystery, so I’ve decided to follow that course of action. I hope they come through).

But what a fun moment (insert sarcasm) to come back, with all these rumors flying around. This time it’s Leo-Shack. One thing stood out for me in the cyclingnews article:

There are 27 riders under contract at Leopard Trek and 13 riders under contract at RadioShack.

For a team to have only 13 riders under contract halfway through the Vuelta is very unusual. Possible reasons:

  1. You have an enormous problem with your rider group. While there are certainly things to point to (Armstrong investigation, the average age, etc), I don’t see anything that would require replacing half the riders on that team. And if this were the case, you’d be hiring like crazy right now.
  2. You don’t have sufficient sponsorship funds for next year to make new commitments.
  3. You’re planning a merger and combined you have too many riders.
  4. You’re a mad genius and have a plan so brilliant nobody understands it.

Obviously this list is not exhaustive, but I struggle to find other logical reasons. In the current situation, it may very well be a combination of #2 and #3. Obviously very few people know the whole story, but the clue about 13 signed riders is too big to ignore. I’ll put my money on Bruyneel, in the kitchen, with the knife.

More on this topic later today, to always get the latest you can subcribe to this blog by email, twitter, facebook, even Skype (don’t ask me how that works).

10 Responses to “Leo-Shack Clue – the board game”

  1. Peter Says:

    Let me give you a clue:

    Radio: 13 riders on contract for 2012
    Saxo-Sunguard: 14 riders on contract for 2012

    None of the teams seem eager to sign new riders …

    • Saxo-shack has a nice ring to it too! Obviously this year a lot of groups were eyeing mergers (Omega, Quickstep, Lotto, Saxo, Highroad, Leopard, Vacansoleil) so it wouldn’t be a surprise that some are still open to such a possibility.

      And of course, when the music stops at least one will be left standing.

  2. wisey17 Says:

    Glad to see you back on the air Gerard, and with your sense of humour still in tact after the UCI beat it with their big (criticism will not be tolerated) stick. Keep at it!

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Poor Ben Hermans: young and promising rider left RadioShack for Leopard, got kicked out of the Vuelta team because of that, and if the merger story is true, finds himself in the team he wanted to leave…

  4. Option 4………….

  5. c_fiddy Says:

    I’d pick Johan as a lead pipe kind of guy.

  6. Pave Says:

    So they’d have to chop at least ten riders from the overall roster in a merger, yes? I can’t imagine the big names being let go, and there is quite a stable of big names on the two teams. At the same time, I can’t really see a team function well with all that top talent and the personalities of those individual big name riders also seem like they’d clash.

    Is any of this a consideration in thinking about a merger, or does it just come down to dollars and cents (or Euros, as it were)?

    • Hi Pave, I have no idea what is or isn’t a consideration in merger talks that may or may not happen. But your points are certainly valid, team atmosphere is a funny thing. As with many things, it comes on foot but leaves on horseback.

  7. HUD Says:

    Desperate times call for desperate measures. No doubt the relative paucity of expected results on the part of LT and lack of title sponsor have to be factors.

    Most of the radioshack contingent is aging and if Bruyneel regime is to soldier on, they will need new blood.

    Right now most of the Americans seem to be moving into BMC.

    However, a track record of success in the TDF is rare and only one active manager has the lead there. This is a currency that any sponsor understands.

    • Anonymous Says:

      “Most of the radioshack contingent is aging and if Bruyneel regime is to soldier on, they will need new blood. ”

      Freudian slip there ?

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