Leopard SA reasserts position on Fränk Schleck as he and brother Andy hit back

Brothers say no prior warning given that Fränk wouldn't ride for it again once ban expires next week

by Simon_MacMichael   July 6, 2013  

Giro 2012 S11 Frank Schleck signs on (Gian Mattia D'Alberto - LaPresse - RCS Sport)

Leopard SA has issued a brief statement to clarify its position with regard to Fränk Schleck, confirmed in recent days as not be rejoining the team once his 12-month ban ends next week. The Luxembourg-based team’s latest announcement follows criticism of its decision by Fränk’s brother Andy, currently riding for it in the Tour de France.

Fränk himself has expressed surprise at the decision, pointing out that his team has supported him ever since his positive test for the diuretic Xipamide during last year’s Tour de France, and has taken action less than a fortnight before his ban is due to end. He is leaving the issue in the hands of his lawyers.

Andy, quoted on Yahoo! Eurosport yesterday, said: “I can’t really understand the decision. I’m sad and disappointed but I don’t know what to say. Maybe they will use it against me and fire me as well.”

He believes the team, whose licence will be taken over by its current bike supplier Trek for the 2014 season, had been motivated by reasons other than his brother’s ban in deciding not to engage him once it expires.

“It wasn’t even anything to do with doping, even the UCI agreed on that,” he insisted.

“But there are other things behind this decision. I don’t think it is anything to do with the suspension.”

When it announced the decision to hand Fränk a partially backdated ban in January, the Agence Luxembourgeoise Anti Dopage (ALAD) said it accepted that the substance came to be in his body innocently.

Andy continued: “To kick him out of the team after 11 months of giving him their support, I just don’t understand it.”

RadioShack-Leopard team manager Luca Guercilena, who replaced Johan Bruyneel last year, said yesterday: “He [Andy] is and always will be his brother, but we have had to apply internal rules.”

In its statement today, the team’s management company said: “Leopard would like to clarify that Fränk Schleck nor his counsellors can be surprised over the decision taken by Leopard, as several meetings with Fränk Schleck have taken place between the date when the options to appeal the verdict expired and the present date.

“The decision that has been conveyed to Fränk Schleck on Wednesday corresponds perfectly to the atmosphere of these meetings.

Earlier this week, it was confirmed that Fabian Cancellara had signed for the new Trek team for three years from 2014. Whether Andy Schleck will join him given his brother's absence and what are likely to be strained relations with its management, which will be led by Guercilena, must be in some doubt.

11 user comments

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"He believes the team, whose licence will be taken over by its current bike supplier Trek for the 2014 season, had been motivated by reasons other than his brother’s ban in deciding not to engage him once it expires."

Erm, maybe his crap performances prior to his ban too? Thinking

posted by Alb [89 posts]
6th July 2013 - 19:48

3 Likes

"It wasn’t even anything to do with doping, even the UCI agreed on that"

The very low level of Xipamide led the Luxembourg anti-doping agency to conclude that it was "involuntary contamination" (accidental) and his biological passport data was not suspicious. Unfortunately for Frank this isn't enough to get him just a slap on ther wrist, as the UCI's own statement makes clear:

"The UCI Anti-Doping Rules do not provide for a provisional suspension given the nature of the substance, which is a specified substance."

Low levels of a specified substance don't mean the rider wasn't doping, it got in his blood somehow. The team said it wasn't from the products they give the riders.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2062 posts]
6th July 2013 - 20:50

6 Likes

maybe he should become a good rider first... then reconsider why the team doesn't want him back

posted by beej.a [40 posts]
6th July 2013 - 21:42

5 Likes

hard to believe the way this is being played out during the TdF - talk about motivational management!

posted by Metjas [313 posts]
6th July 2013 - 22:04

3 Likes

Metjas wrote:
hard to believe the way this is being played out during the TdF - talk about motivational management!

It's being played out at the TDF primarily because it was on that race that FS tested positive last year, and that's when his 12 month ban was deemed to have begun.

Whether RadioShack-Leopard could have managed the situation better to avoid it kicking off right now is an entirely different issue...

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8517 posts]
6th July 2013 - 22:24

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The greatest story of brother success in sport has to be the hockey duo Gretzkys. They hold the title for most points by brothers, Wayne has 2857 points, Brent has 4. (for non-hockey followers, you get a point credited to you for scoring a goal and for assisting the final pass to a goal scorer). If you took away all of Wayne Gretzky's goals and measured only his assist goals, he would still be the all time leader in points! Capital Cycles

posted by TeamCC [146 posts]
6th July 2013 - 23:45

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Innocent or not, whether they supported him during his ban or not, they chose not to renew his contract. After that, I'm sorry but diddums.

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

Gizmo_'s picture

posted by Gizmo_ [958 posts]
7th July 2013 - 10:27

4 Likes

TeamCC wrote:
The greatest story of brother success in sport has to be the hockey duo Gretzkys. They hold the title for most points by brothers, Wayne has 2857 points, Brent has 4.

I presume you follow ice hockey, but 2857/4 is hardly a 'great' performance split. What about the rowing Searle brothers, Olympic champions. Or the Bryan brothers in tennis completed a Golden Grand Slam yesterday. Or our own Murray brothers, both Wimbledon winners (after today.) Bobbie and Jack Charlton, world cup winners, and there are plenty of other footballing and rugby playing internationals, what about the rugby Evans' they were Scottish internationals until one of them broke his neck; now he is a model!
Sorry but whoever Brent Gretzky is Frank Schleck still has a better record.



I am stronger than Mensa, Miller and Mailer, I spat out Plath and Pinter.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1434 posts]
7th July 2013 - 10:30

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maybe he should become a good rider first... then reconsider why the team doesn't want him back

I think most riders would happily consider a TdF podium and 3 other top 5 grand tour finishes as a good result for a career. Until the TdF last year, he was still riding well.

posted by atlaz [158 posts]
7th July 2013 - 22:58

2 Likes

Trek taking over as the main sponsor. I don’t think Trek need another major doping problem that LA has given, tarnishing Treks Global world wide brand name. Both brothers have been clouded with question marks ever since the Father’s car was search driving VIP on the TDF a few years ago. Maybe an ‘IM Cycling Team’ calling for both to re-launch their careers?

posted by Roberj4 [202 posts]
8th July 2013 - 9:24

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Think Trek will be looking for whiter-than-white conduct for the new team, so they'll want no suspicions having over the riders.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3476 posts]
8th July 2013 - 10:02

4 Likes