There have been a bunch of signs that RadioShack-Nissan has been coming apart at the seams. Johan Bruyneel and Frank Schleck clashing, with Bruyneel sending Schleck to the Giro in an apparent attempt to split up Frank and Andy; Frank pulling out of the Giro and trading barbs with Bruyneel through press officers; Bruyneel being a part of the USADA investigation into Lance Armstrong; Jakob Fuglsang’s public displeasure with team management; rumors that RadioShack-Nissan hasn’t been paying some of its riders; and rumors that Kim Anderson is quietly setting up a new team, Alpecin-Trek, to be built around the Schlecks (call it Leopard Part II?).
Writing them all down, it really starts to come together. But the real clincher was something that was reported following yesterday’s Stage 6 – after the big crash, Frank Schleck “found that only one teammate – Yaroslav Popovych – had remained with him.”
Now, there could be a bunch of reasons for the things listed in the first paragraph – things that armchair commentators aren’t privy to. And it could be that Popovych was, truly, the only rider capable of waiting for Frank, for whatever reason.
But put them all together and a compelling story emerges, bound together by an egregious sign of a team that is coming apart at the seams and rife with divisions – abandoning their protected rider during the world’s biggest bike race.