Team and former rider in discussions well ahead of public dumping
The news that Fränk Schleck had been officially dumped by his former RadioShack Leopard squad should not have come as a "surprise" to the Luxembourger, according a statement released by Leopard SA - the team’s management company. Schleck was informed he would not be offered a position back on the team when his suspension ends on 14 July and told RTL Luxembourg that he had not approached other teams assuming he would find a home alongside his younger brother Andy.
"I'm surprised by the decision. I have always done my work and have not been looking around in the meantime for other teams," said Fränk.
Andy also announced his surprise at the news and voiced his intention to ride in the same team as his brother next season - as they have done their entire careers. Considering the close relationship between the two siblings one could assume, going off official team communications, that Andy should have been aware Fränk was unlikely to be offered his old position back.
A number of RadioShack Leopard riders including Maxime Monfort voiced their support of Fränk but the team’s PR line has been prompt to dispel any notion that his the former rider was left out of the loop during his ban following a positive control for Xipamide from the 2012 Tour.
"Leopard would like to clarify that Fränk Schleck nor his counsellors can be surprised over the decision taken by Leopard, as several meetings with Fränk Schleck have taken place between the date when the options to appeal the verdict expired and the present date," read a team statement.
"The decision that has been conveyed to Fränk Schleck on Wednesday corresponds perfectly to the atmosphere of these meetings."
Andy stated that it would be difficult for him to continue at the Tour de France but the official winner of the 2010 Grand Boucle was amongst the front runners in the first mountain test at this year’s edition. While struggling to stay in contact with the infernal pace set by Sky on Ax 3 Domaines, his condition has undoubtedly returned to a level which is closer to what many expect. He eventually finished in 21st place, 3:34 down on stage winner Chris Froome (Sky).