By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor
Rock Racing's now former director Frankie Andreu's 2006 mea culpa about his involvement with doping during his time on the US Postal team made him a credible mentor to younger cyclists about the dangers of doping. And Andreu felt that his previous mistakes warranted him to speak to his group of young riders, frequently. But with the revelation that one of the riders on the team during his tenure, which Andreu confirmed is Kayle Leogrande, is under investigation by the U.S. Anti-doping Agency (USADA), Andreu could only say that he did his due diligence to prevent it.
"I had conversations with everyone, multiple times," said Andreu. "But so has Bob Stapleton and Bjarne Riis with their riders, and you see what happened there."
When asked how much this specific instance of the Rock & Republic sponsored team affected his decision to part ways with the team in December, Andreu responded that it was more the reaction by the team owners – or more specifically the lack of reaction – that gave him a sour taste. "There were a combination of things [in my decision,] but the non-reaction by Rock & Republic was certainly part of that. I knew [the investigation] was in the development. I didn't know about the lawsuit, but I knew there were rumours of the test. "
Leogrande's alleged test in question, the circumstances of which makeup an anonymous 'john doe' lawsuit against USADA, came from the 2007 Superweek race series. Andreu was not present for these races. Cyclingnews did speak at length with Andreu a month after the Tour of Elk Grove, in which he explained his position on doping to his riders.
In that interview, Andreu said: "I speak to them, not every day, but I've had conversations throughout the year. Everything that is happening now, you can't take anything. You can't go to GNC and buy anything. It's not tolerated now. For sure we don't want to have something come down with Rock & Republic and hurt the image of the company. Especially with me being involved now. I'm the director and my head is on the line too; I can't have any of it, either."
Andreu said he did not learn about the USADA investigation until in November. "I didn't find out about it until like November, that is when [Rock & Republic] told me. I was kind of hurt, because I had talked to all the riders through the year that this was not something we wanted to mess around with – this was a new cycling trying to move forward."
According to USADA statistics, Leogrande was tested three times in 2007 and once in 2006 – the year he won his elite amateur national criterium championship. Representatives from Superweek told Cyclingnews that they had not been contacted by USADA or USA Cycling about test results from the 2007 series.
Media representatives from Rock Racing said that Leogrande’s alleged involvement with any lawsuit or USADA proceeding was still speculation. Rock & Republic wasn't available for comment at the time of writing.