After a dismal beginning to the 2012 campaign with victories only coming from über-cyclist Fabian Cancellara, Team RadioShack-Nissan has gone on a public relations offensive to draw attention away from their performances on the bicycle, including today’s disastrous time trial performance by Chris Horner, losing Tirreno-Adriatico by a mere 14 seconds.
The team’s independent-management-consultant Johan Bruyneel was quick to draw attention away from not only the dismal performances on the bike, but also the catastrophic loss of RadioShack corporate cycling cheerleader, Lee Applbaum. Applbaum, an armchair cycling fanatic and recently-indoctrinated TrainRight™ Chris Carmichael client, was released this past week from his position as executive vice president and chief marketing officer for the electronics retailer.
Bruyneel established the smokescreen with the clandestine release of breakaway league information via Bloomberg on Friday, two months after the first leak barely garnered a reaction out of his chief opponent, the UCI.
Breakaway league experts within the sport refused to comment directly on the article. However, noted breakaway league opponent Marc Madiot was keen to share his thoughts.
“Look, this is atrociously ridiculous. This quote unquote “league” is doomed to fail. Eight out of 40 teams are in agreement? Verbruggen is called in to broker a peace deal? British experts from Coventry commenting on money raised? This is a JV slash Bruyneel plot of jealousy because they aren’t French, Italian or Spanish. Their countries lack the panache to hold real grand tours so they want to ruin ours,” declared Madiot. He energetically continued, “Where was their support when I proposed a real union for the riders? Nowhere. They’re greedy. They just want the money. Nothing more. Nothing less.”
Noted cycling historian David Harmon was quick to lay judgement on the potential success of the breakaway league concept, “If these gentlemen want a circuit, then they should invest in Revolution UK and leave the road business to the organizers and the riders. Too many cooks are in the kitchen ruining the soup.”
When asked about the smokescreen to draw attention away from the string of failures on his part, Bruyneel was typically fired up.
“All you journalists are ridiculous. I am the master cycling tactician. How else can you explain having a 40-year old American almost win Tirreno? I plan to remake cycling with a properly-regimented business plan – simple, easy to follow, with plenty of money in my pocket – that works best for those sponsors investing. If it works for Pat (UCI president Pat McQuaid) then it should work for us,” stated Bruyneel.
When asked who was representing the rider’s voice in the negotiations, Bruyneel was dumbstruck, “Riders? Why should they have a say? They follow what I do. That is all. Just like Horner. He almost won Tirreno. Did you see his almost win? ”
It remains to be seen if this smokescreen will be able to distract the public from Team RadioShack-Nissan’s string of failures, from Jens Voigt’s apparent battle with his own DS – which cost him a stage win at Paris-Nice – to handing the leadership at Tirreno to an aging American who clearly struggled in the race of truth.