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Becca offers Fränk Schleck a way back

By:
Daniel Benson
Published:
July 20, 2013, 14:44,
Updated:
July 20, 2013, 15:45
Edition:
Second Edition Cycling News, Saturday, July 20, 2013
Team owner Flavio Becca with Fabian Cancellara

Team owner Flavio Becca with Fabian Cancellara

  • Team owner Flavio Becca with Fabian Cancellara
  • Leopard Trek financial backer Flavio Becca talks to directeur sportif Kim Andersen
  • Andy and Frank Schleck celebrate after the 2011 Tour de France

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Refuses to talk about Bruyneel's money

Flavio Becca paid a visit to the Tour de France ahead of stage 20 on Saturday and although he would not discuss the financial situation between himself and Johan Bruyneel, after he lost a legal case against the Belgian, he did announce that he had offered Fränk Shleck a contract for the remainder of the 2013 season.

Becca was joined at the start by an individual who thought it a requirement to take a photo of the Cyclingnews journalist's accreditation, while a second party with Becca videoed the conversation on his mobile phone.

Becca was asked whether the team he had put together had been a success, given that he has sold the team's WorldTour licence and announced that he would leave the sport at the end of the season after three years in the sport.

"A big success. Three years, three time and during these three years we had the yellow jersey three times. So I think there are a lot of other teams who wanted such a success that we had," he said.

Cyclingnews then pointed out that the team had come into the sport with the dream of winning the Tour de France. Their best result was second and third with Andy Schleck and his brother Fränk flanking Cadel Evans on the podium in 2011.

"In 2011 was good work and in 2012 we had Andy with his crash at the Dauphine and after that he had to start again at zero. I think he will be back for next year and we'll see what he will do because he's in big progression and what he needs is more time to prepare for next year."

Andy Schleck has not confirmed whether he will ride for the new Trek team in 2014 and less certain is the future of Fränk who has seen his suspension for positive test in the 2012 Tour wind down without the confirmation of team for the remainder of the season. However, today there have been Luxembourg media reports that the two will ride for Trek in the coming year.

"Fränk as you know, as you asked me last time, you asked if he could race again until the end of the year. I made him an official proposal to try and stay with us until the end of the year and now it's up to him if he wants to accept that. If he doesn't then it's a pity," Becca said.

Becca sold the licence to Trek just before this year's Tour but he added that he could one day return to the sport. When asked why he sold up, he replied. "Because I had a programme for three years. During these three years I said that after the last Tour de France we would take a decision whether to continue. The riders, 95 per cent of them only had contracts for three years, and what we decided was to stop this year. But when I jumped into this sport I said that the first big sponsors needed to come into this sport are the cycling manufactures. I think with Trek I bought in the world number one, high competition manufacturer."

Cyclingnews pointed out that Trek had an association with cycling before being partnered with Leopard. The American brand were of course the company that sponsored and provided bikes for Lance Armstrong throughout all his Tour wins, although they have never been a title or co-sponsor of a WorldTour team.

"Yes, but they have to be. To try and get more sponsors the first thing is, is that the bike manufacturer he has to jump in and to confirm that he wants to do that."

"I had a three year programme and I want to leave now and see what happens with the new league, with all this because cycling has to go forward. We need to have more hospitality.

Becca then pointed to the grass ground beneath his feet.

"Imagine now you have here this village. Imagine if it had been raining like it did in 2011 in Grenoble. Would we stay here in this? The cycling has to move and be more professional. Perhaps we'll come back as a sponsor. I can't confirm it, but it could be."

Finally, Cyclingnews asked about the fact that a Luxembourg court ruled that Becca must pay 900,000 Euro to the team's former boss Johan Bruyneel. The Belgian was forced to step down last year in the wake of USADA's investigation into doping at the US Postal team.

The then-team manager lent Becca 1.5 million Euros in March 2012. Since then only 600,000 Euros have been paid back.

"We're not here to discuss financial things. Okay. Now we stop the conversation."

avantage More than 1 year ago
How lame is that? Lay concrete in every damn town for that 15 mintutes when a VIP steps into the "Tour village"?
Altimus Chang More than 1 year ago
New league, eh? We know the UCI is going to make the WorldTour fewer races and more outside Europe. Is the Rothchild(?) dark horse still running? Interesting.
G3K762mm More than 1 year ago
Sketchy character, that Becca.
ToreBear More than 1 year ago
Good interview! Good thing you asked the naughty question last!