With Andy Schleck (right) out of the Tour, there will be no repeat podium in 2012. Photo: HTO3/Flickr
Last fall, when two of the biggest teams in pro cycling, Leopard-Trek and Radioshack, announced their merger, expectations were high that the new super team, Radioshack-Nissan-Trek, would steamroll the peloton and put one of the Schleck brothers, likely Andy, on the top step of the Tour de France podium at last.
Fast forward nine months, and the team has failed to live up to expectations. In fact, with only three notable wins to its credit so far in 2012—Fabian Cancellara won the Strade Bianchi and stage 7 at Tirreno-Adriatico in March before breaking his collar bone at Paris-Roubaix, and Jakob Fulgsang took the overall at the Tour of Luxembourg earlier this month—it's no overstatement to say that the merger has thus far been a flop. Team director Johan Bruyneel acknowledged the grim situation in recent weeks, calling the team's performance "far below expectations" and "unacceptable."
And as the springtime failures have amassed (the team came up empty at the Ardennes classics, Frank Schleck pulled out of the Giro citing injury), rumors of strife between Bruyneel and the Luxembourger brothers have amplified. Late last month, Bruyneel even implied that neither of the Luxembourgers were guaranteed a spot at the Tour if they didn't shape up.
Now it looks like Bruyneel's veiled threat is coming half true.