Schlecks rumoured to have signed with Astana for coming year

Andy and Fränk Schleck are said to have signed for next season with Team Astana, according to Luxembourg media – assuming, of course, that Fränk is not banned for doping. Financial details remain to be worked out, according to, which also disclosed details of the Schlecks' contracts with Leopard SA, which runs the RadioShack-Nissan team.

At the Tour de France, it was rumoured that Fränk Schleck was scheduled to meet with Astana on the rest day – a day which ended with him leaving the race with a positive doping test.

The brothers have a contract with Leopard SA, which runs RadioShack-Nissan, through the 2013 season, but the Luxembourg website says that their departure is “assured.” The question at this point, “is whether Leopard SA allows the two Luxembourg pros to go voluntarily or if it will demand a transfer fee,” according to L'essentiel.

Relations between the Schlecks and Flavio Becca, the team owner and head of Leopard, have gone downhill this summer. The latest financial problems deal with image rights, which have apparently not been paid.

L'essentiel said that Andy Schleck earns 2 million Euro per year, and Fränk 1.8 million, not including bonuses. In addition, it cited as saying each has an additional contract for their image rights, both of which pay 600,000 Euro per year. Andy's is paid into a firm called Cyclan and Frank's into Winfrank, and the these companies “are amongst others financially connected to such exotic destinations as Panama and Singapore.”

Leopard has publicly said that it has stopped these image right payments because of “suspicion of money laundering.” Both Schlecks and Fabian Cancellara have filed complaints with the UCI concerning non-payment of monies due.

The Luxembourg connection

The cycling world is small and Luxembourg is a small country, and the two have close connections. Astana operates under a Kazakh licence, but its operation company is based in Luxembourg City. The team cars at the Tour de France are registered in Luxembourg.

Astana's general manager in 2008 and 2009 was Johan Bruyneel, who is now manager at RadioShack-Nissan.

The Schlecks' attorney and financial advisor, Albert Widgen, was dismissed from the Leopard board of directors in December 2011, and has since publicly quarreled with Leopard founder Flavio Becca. Becca himself is under investigation by Luxembourg authorities for financial irregularities.

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