A Tour de France can rescue a season and it can even define a career but for the entire RadioShack-Nissan team this year's race provides vital opportunities to demonstrate both a united front and a platform for success – two items it has been sorely lacking in 2012.
The Luxembourg team’s season has read like a comedy of errors, lurching from disaster to disaster, often in full view of the press. In just the last few weeks Johan Bruyneel has been sidelined from the Tour, Jakob Fuglsang has been told he’s ineligible for the any top level racing and a number of staff are rumoured to be short of pay. Not to mention the fact that both Schleck brothers and Fabian Cancellara have been linked with new teams for 2013.
However, Jens Voigt, one of the team’s most experienced riders, is long enough in the tooth to know that while problems have been numerous the squad’s Tour could provide both welcome relief and the chance to resurrect a disappointing season.
"I got more people asking me about the morale in the team than anything else but we’ve been here for two and half days and it’s really good. We train together and it’s a good group of riders we have here. We’re looking forward to finally starting and it’s good," he told Cyclingnews.
"I don’t think there’s any problems that we can’t solve or that we should be bothered or make us too concerned to stop us riding the Tour de France. The perfect situation is very hard to create and probably no team has it. Sometimes you have to say that’s life and move up."
Recent stories in the French media regarding missed payments for staff have left Voigt somewhat in the dark, but the German admitted that he only knew his own bank balance and that his colleagues’ cash flow was an unknown.
"Okay I’m only one member of the team and we have mechanics, riders, doctors and press officers but I’ve received all my money and I’m good.
"It’s the job of the media to talk about theses things. That’s their job and that’s what they do. I would say and I hope that no body on the team is going to kill me but I would have to say we as a team did too much talking publicly. There was too much talk about twitter, and interviews. We could have done that a little better," the German told Cyclingnews.