Johan Bruyneel has confirmed that the first talks regarding the creation of the new RadioShack-Nissan-Trek team super team were held the day after the Tour de France ended in Paris. The Belgian team manager now faces the challenge of successfully combining the two teams and then helping Andy Schleck win the 2012 Tour de France.
During this year's Tour de France, Bruyneel had confirmation that RadioShack and Nissan would continue as sponsors for another two years, but has revealed to Het Nieuwsblad that there would be “budgetary limitations”. The Monday after the Tour, he attended the first meeting to discuss “the opportunity” of taking charge of the Leopard Trek team. The impulse came from John Burke at Trek.
“He brought RadioShack, Nissan and Leopard together. Leopard had a team, but no sponsor. We had no team to win the Tour, but we offered in the form of RadioShack and Nissan two passionate cycling sponsors,” Bruyneel said.
Bruyneel is now looking forward to winning the Tour de France with Andy Schleck, who he has been watching for a long time.
“He had already struck me in 2005 when he first rode the Tour of Georgia. The talent drips off him. You can't finish second in the Tour three years in a row and second in the Giro otherwise. I think it is time he really starts to believe he can win the Tour,” he said.
Bruyneel also knows who the main competition will be. "If Contador is on form, he is really tough to beat. Ultimately, the Tour always come down to a battle of man against man. I know Alberto's level, but he proved that he is not unbeatable."
The Belgian team manager is very much looking forward to the challenges of the new team in 2012. He almost retired when Lance Armstrong ended his career but seems to have rediscovered his enthusiasm.
“It is the challenge of the new team that engages me. I need greater challenges," he said. "The last Tour was a nightmare for me, as was 2006, the year after Lance Armstrong. Then the following year we won with Contador. We will try to repeat that with Andy. I'm still alive and kicking. "