Wednesday, 6 June 2012

The Schlecks vs Bruyneel - rumble with a cause?

What is next?

Photo credit Barry Ryan, downloaded here.

Many have had their attention on the "situation" in the Radioshack-Nissan-Trek team the last weeks. Fränk Schleck exited the giro after the team had laid down some heavy work for him, and Bruyneel couldn't understand why he (Fränk) left because "He might have had an injury to his shoulder, but yesterday he finished with the best,” Bruyneel told Luxembourg newspaper Tageblatt. “So his physical condition could not have been bad, when he rides with the top 10 places.” as the article over at Velonation says.

The athlete's perspective
Rumours about an uneasy situation within the RSNT-team have been circulating for some time, but this statement, if true, really made the headlines. First of all, it is not easy for any of the parties. Fränk and Andy, where Fränk apparently was the driving force of leaving Saxo in the first place, had a nice first year at Leopard. They surrouned themselves with people they knew, like team manager Brian Nygaard and sports director Kim Andersen to mention a few. Suddenly they found themselves without the power and control any longer. Nygaard got squeezed out, in came John Bruyneel who are used to get things his way. One can only speculate what has been going on behind the curtains of the team bus but Kim Andersen got sidelined too, something the brothers took very hard.

Nothing ruins a day more for a top athlete than breaking the daily routine. Top athletes have their days all lined up, what to eat, what to train when, how many hours to sleep and so forth. Predictability and stability is key. Suddenly they (apparently) was denied this by an intruder ordered in by Becca himself.
This is one side of the story, and there are at least one more, if not several.

Everybody in the cycling media and others, me included, love to point out if something's out of the ordinary with the Schlecks. But is it really? The brilliant INRNG has a good comparativ analysis of Andy Schleck last year and now, and I have to agree, I don't think we've seen the last of the Schlecks. They will be strong in July both of them.

Fränk making a choice?

Downloaded here.

Public vs internally
What can the reason be that the rumble between Bruyneel and the Schlecks got public in the first place? T tell you the truth, I was surprised to see this happen in the media the way it did. Was it good journalism that brought it out, was it pressure that had to be steamed? Was it a part of someone's strategy of getting that dirty laundry out in the open to make a point? Whatever the reason(s) this doesn't look good for anyone.

A team manager could be a manager or he could choose to be a leader. At the same time, riders could act professional in the public, after all, this what is expected of most others in their work-life if they struggle with a leader. Who lose? Everyone. The team as questions converning leadership, direction and power keep popping up making it difficult to perform, the Schlecks as they might come across as difficult to work with, Bruyneel as his public rant harms people's impression of him and Becca as his dream might not come true this year. Sponsors don't like what they see either. In addition to this fans all over the world witness team members and leaders rant in public and accusations fly everywhere. Who to believe?

Normally, the truth lies somewhere in between.

But please, take control over this situation and keep it internally. Let the legs do the talking.

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