Kim Andersen will not be at the Tour de France as a directeur sportif for RadioShack-Nissan this year, as team manger Johan Bruyneel will be in the team car in France. Andersen has accompanied the Schleck brothers at virtually all their important races to date.
Brian Holm of Omega Pharma-QuickStep was amazed at the news and speculated that Bruyneel wanted to get the brothers away from Andersen's influence.
“I must be with the team for the Tour of California, but not the Tour de France,” he told sporten.dk. Things are “very different on the team this year,” Andersen said diplomatically.
Alain Gallopin is expected to be the team's second sport director at the Tour.
Andersen left Saxo Bank to set up Leopard Trek with Brian Nygaard in 2011. The team merged with RadioShack for the 2012 season, and Andersen was demoted from team manger to sport director, and Nygaard was dismissed.
Andersen's fellow Dane, Brian Holm, sport director at Omega Pharma-QuickStep, was surprised by the news. “It amazes me that the brothers Schleck don't do something and demand that Kim is at the Tour De France,” he said.
“Kim is good and in my opinion, the world's best. But perhaps Bruyneel is afraid that Kim Andersen's influence is too great. And you really should be saying that Johan Bruyneel over the years has proven that he knows the way to victory.”
Holm disclosed that he had earlier tried to get Andersen to join Omega Pharma-QuickStep, and would still like to have his countryman join him at the Belgian team.
“I called Kim and asked if he was interested in joining, when I heard about the merger plans between Leopard Trek and RadioShack. But Kim is a very honourable man,” he said
As for a new offer for Andersen, “manager Patrick Lefèvere has the matter now and I do not know if we have anything available.”