Alain Gallopin, former directeur sportif with CSC and now with RadioShack-Nissan, has outlined team rosters for the 2012 Giro d'Italia and Tour de France and given his personal opinion regarding two rival squads for this year's Tour, Saxo Bank and his own RadioShack. The Danish team managed by Bjarne Riis, for whom he worked from 2004 to 2007, has multiple Grand Tour winner Alberto Contador in its ranks, but with both Andy and Fränk Schleck on Johan Bruyneel's squad, Gallopin said that the Belgian had the better tactical instincts.
"Tactically, Bruyneel is more clever that Riis," the Frenchman told Velochrono. "He's the best manager I have worked with so far. I have been working with him for four years, and we've never had the slightest disagreement."
Gallopin however admitted that Riis was "extraordinary" in regard to training. "Also, with Bjarne we didn't have the same sort of relationship. I massaged him when he was a neo pro: I had more authority. With Johan, we communicate more, we call each other every day."
The 54-year-old also gave insight into RadioShack's team line-ups for the Giro and the Tour, as well as announcing that both Schleck brothers will be riding the Dauphiné instead of the Tour de Suisse this year.
"Johan would like that Andy does the Dauphiné instead of his usual Tour de Suisse," Gallopin revealed. "He nearly always did this with Armstrong, except for in 2001. When you get second [in the Tour de France], you have to try and change something. Last year, those who did the Dauphiné had an advantage, as the time trial was identical. At the Tour, the difference between those who knew the Grenoble time trial route and those who didn't was important. In 2011, that's really where Andy lost the Tour. He still has a lot of things to fine-tune. We will move step by step. But there will be some changes."
Gallopin also rejected Bjarne Riis’ contention that Andy Schleck lacked the seriousness and rigour necessary to win the Tour de France, claiming that his personality was not that far removed from Contador’s.
“I wouldn’t say that he isn’t serious enough,” Gallopin said. “He is younger, but you know Alberto Contador isn’t a sad type either – he’s like a laugh too. The only thing is that Alberto’s life is more organised. If Andy wasn’t serious, he would never have finished second in the Tour three times. This kind of reproach is often made of talented riders, and Andy is a hugely talented one.”
The Tour de France may be six months away, but Gallopin already has an idea of the eight riders who will flank Schleck in his quest to take the yellow jersey. While his brother Fränk, Andreas Klöden, Chris Horner and Fabian Cancellara all appear certainties to line up in Liège, the other riders in contention for Tour berths are Jens Voigt, Haimar Zubeldia, Gregory Rast, Joost Posthuma, Yaroslav Popovych, Jakob Fuglsang, Mikel Irizar and Linus Gerdemann. “But that could change, because the Tour is over five months away,” Gallopin noted.