After winning the Tour of Luxembourg and working diligently for RadioShack-Nissan teammate Fränk Schleck in the Tour de Suisse, Jakob Fuglsang was expected to be selected for the Tour de France. Although he was named to the team's long list for July, the Dane was surprisingly left off the final roster, announced today.
In his place was Chris Horner, a rider who was not listed in the long team, but who petitioned for his inclusion for the Tour, insisting his back injury that flared up after the Tour of California was all better.
Interviewed by sporten.dk, Fuglsang wouldn't speculate as to the reasons why he was not chosen for the Tour team. "I was told by Kim Andersen, but he could not say why," the 27-year-old Dane said.
"Of course I'm disappointed with it and I think I should have a place on the team. If you look at my form and my results, I can not see that there are nine riders who are better."
The flip-flop in selections could be related to Andy Schleck's broken sacrum, which was discovered last week, as stated by RadioShack press officer Philippe Maertens. The decision could also be related to Fuglsang's own admission that he is considering moving back to the Saxo Bank squad, or it could simply be that the team, sponsored by two US sponsors, wanted at least one of the team's three Americans in the race.
"[It] Was a difficult choice, but a choice of team management. Andy [dropping] out changed many things. And it was not a choice [of] Horner or Fuglsang," Maertens told Cyclingnews via e-mail.
Fuglsang said he respects the decisions of the team's sport directors, but when questioned about the drama currently surrounding his team, he hinted, "There is more than what appears in the press. We see only the tip of the iceberg. It does not take a genius to see that it is not running as it should."
What appears in the press are several indications that general manager Johan Bruyneel's authority is not what it once was: Bruyneel has engaged in a public debate with the Schleck brothers over their performances this season and the decision to leave director Kim Andersen at home in July, and as a result both riders are rumoured to be looking to leave the team next year.
More recently, it became public that Bruyneel is embroiled in the Lance Armstrong/USADA doping case, the Belgian is facing the end of his career in the sport if he is found guilty of anti-doping rule violations from the US Postal Service team days.
The case could lead the Tour de France organisers ASO to exclude the team from the race, although Christian Prudhomme refused to comment on the speculation.