Team Lance? Team Radio Shack.

RadioShack

The waiting is over. No Starbucks, no Nike, no Oracle. Officially, what we know of Lance Armstrong’s new team is that it will be sponsored by Radio Shack and that the seven-time winner of the Tour de France will compete at the Tour of California and the Tour de France as a cyclist, but that he will also compete through the season as a runner and triathlete.

Yes, sports fans, Lance Armstrong will make a return to triathlon.

No other sponsors, riders or team personnel were named except that the team will be managed by Capital Sports and Entertainment (CSE), the same team that managed the US Postal and Discovery Channel cycling teams. Radio Shack said the team would compete at the ProTour level.

Those are the facts. What can we infer from the announcement?

First, the ProTour license will likely come from Astana. Second, the team will be directed by Johan Bruneel. Third, Levi Leipheimer, Chris Horner, Yaroslav Popovych and Jose Luis Rubiera will ride for the team; many others from the former Discovery Channel formation are likely to follow. Fourth, the LiveStrong Foundation is likely to have a sponsorship role in the team. Fifth, the team will ride Trek bikes with SRAM components.

Will Alberto Contador be a part of this formation? It’s too soon to tell. Bruyneel and Armstrong may not want a rider, even one as talented as Contador, who can’t stick to the game plan and rides only for himself. Contador may not want to be on a team where he feels even the faintest whiff of a challenge to his leadership.

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18 comments

  1. Robert

    Frankly, I’m pretty surprised that Radio Shack hasn’t curled up and died like Circuit City did. I don’t shop in malls very often, so I guess I didn’t realize they even had this kind of money to toss around.

    I thought it was a joke when I heard it tossed around in the rumor mill.

  2. Da Robot

    I’d bet a dozen donuts, a Swiss Army knife and the biggest bullfrog I could find that Contador will NOT be riding on the same team as Lance Armstrong next season.

    What intrigues me is which former Armstrong lieutenants will leave their current teams to join this new American squad. Hincappie? Zabriskie? Vande Velde?

    Could happen…and then what does a three-way American rivalry look like?

  3. mark

    “Will Alberto Contador be a part of this formation? It’s too soon to tell.”

    If “too soon to tell” really means “not only no, but hell no” then I think you’re spot on.

  4. Jason

    Gotta say I’m sad to see the LAMEST possible rumored option come to pass. S’bucks, Oracle, even Nike/Livestrong/Trek would’ve been cool. But Radio Shack??? Wow.

    So we’ve gone from Posties, to Disco boys, to what….Rad Shackers?????

  5. Craig

    “Contador, who can’t stick to the game plan and rides only for himself. ” What’s with the Contador hate? “Not sticking to the game plan” seems to boil down to two his two attacks. At the time he made his first, it can hardly be said to be a case of not sticking with the game plan, as the team seemed in disarray at that stage, to be sure, Contador was receiving far less help from his team mates than Armstrong. The second, on which he dropped Kloeden, was in fact an attack on the Schlecks. The intent was to drop Kloeden, Andy and Frank Schleck, thus solidifying his lead while Kloeden kept in touch with the Schlecks and thus kept his podium hopes alive. If Contador had not attacked, Andy Schleck would have, and Kloeden would likely have been dropped anyway. Your gripe is tiresome and fails to recognise one point: that the ‘plan’ of Astana is primarily to win the Yellow Jersey. This was intended for Contador, who has always been the recognised team leader. Lance took his place as number 2 man, and an indispensably helpful partner on the climbs. However, if anything, it should be Armstrong who should be seen as undermining the game plan, for his political maneuvering and childish attempts to take primacy over Contador, who remains far and away the best GC rider, the best climber and perhaps the best ITT rider in the world. I can see how it may look like Contador is being selfish, however, I think that to make such statements is to mistake selfishness for the prodigical talent that makes Contador stand shoulders above all the other riders on the tour. Contador is the best rider of the moment, possibly the best rider of his generation, but greatness and selfishness are not the same thing. If we are to go down the road of greatness being synonymous with selfishness, remember that Hincapie was the only rider from Armstrong era Postal service/Discovery teams to win a TDF stage, despite a raft of abundantly capable riders, they were never permitted to leave the train and take media attention from Armstrong. It is essentially the same thing, just that Contador has a fractured, rather than a unified team behind him.

  6. Lachlan

    gotta agree with Craig here… lots of surprisingly anti-Contador views warping the reading of the race here… If having the best tour rider and best climber in the world of the last 3 years attack on the only mountain top finishes is “off-plan” for a team, then a) thats weird, b) shows his team is against him c) shows he’s a smart puppy in going off plan…

    Any way you read this years toue Contador was tactically right where it counts (the finish line, duh) and easily, visibly the strongest rider by far (with Andy S easily the second strongest by far btw).

    The ironic implication in a lot of many posts here is that Contador was a slefish guy, and that it would have been less selfish of Lance to have team-ordered Contador never to attack, thus allowing the second strongest rider… Andy S to win! Ha! great team results that would have been for the sponsors and the prize money going to the other guys in the squad!

  7. Da Robot

    As I’ve digested this whole Radio Shack thing, it now seems to make perfect sense. Who is in Radio Shack? Old guys. Who is on Team Radio Shack? Horner, Leipheimer, Armstrong, Kloden…old guys.

    They just need Inigo Cuesta, Robbie McEwen, Rolf Aldag and maybe Wilford Brimley and they’re ready to ROCK!!!!!

  8. Susan

    You guys seem to be forgetting one thing….Bruyneel told AC NOT to attack and he did it anyway. Call Lance whatever names you want to call him…but he has never, EVER disobeyed the team director’s call. AC thinks he is smarter than JB and that’s a BIG mistake.
    Lance will return next year..when he is 100% healed from his crash, and in racing form..and he will beat the Spaniard with his intelligence and experience. AC is a good rider, but he doesnt have the mind, heart, soul and reflexes of Lance Armstrong. Alberto is immature, arrogant and selfish. Disobeying JB and attacking on that stage only proved this. Astana could have been 1-2-3 today, if not for AContador’s selfish actions.

    Booking my plane tix to Paris now.

  9. Marco Placero

    Contador’s new team should be sponsored by Everlast and the UFC. His mechanics can plan to add weight to the bike by incorporating some brass knuckles mounted on the toptube that he can remove for his use when the fans get too close. Hey, maybe even a real gun!

  10. Robot

    @ Susan

    Saying, categorically, that Lance has never disobeyed a DS’s order is not reasonable. In his pre-cancer days he had a reputation as a hot head and kind of jerk. I once saw him punch another rider in the peloton just for something the guy said. Lance is a lot of things (inspiring/egotistical/thoughtful/arrogant/etc), but a good soldier has simply NOT always been one of them.

    Nor is it reasonable to believe that Astana could have swept the podium. It’s abundantly clear that Kloden couldn’t stick with Andy Schleck when the rode turned upward. The only reason Schleck didn’t put more time into Kloden is that he was trying to drag his brother up onto the podium and attacking without Frank on his wheel didn’t make sense.

    I hope Lance comes back next year and resumes this battle. It was great in that LeMond/Hinault sort of way, and, as an older guy myself, I always like the idea of the wise old head vanquishing the proud young buck. Still, I’d put my money on the Spaniard.

  11. Michael Fox

    @Susan
    AC “is immature, arrogant, and selfish” as opposed to what? LA is mature,arrogant,and selfish? I’m so tired of this jingoistic,Lancentric view. And thankfully, yet another boring grand tour is done, which puts us that much closer to the spring classics, where riding tempo at the front all-day doesn’t get it done. Will LA include Flanders, Ghent, P-R, L-B-L on his schedule? I think not. Control freaks abhor things they can’t control. Bring on winter,CX,mud,rain,pave, and real racing. Until then, only the Vuelta remains to be endured. BTW, never shopped at Radio Shaft, won’t start now.

  12. Jason

    There is absolutely no way Lance or AC would want to work with each other again. They will become arch rivals for next season, that we can be sure of. As of today Team Saxo bank have confirmed the Schlecks won’t ride for Radio Shack next year. It will be interesting to see who else Armstrong will try to bring in. Vincenzo Nibali maybe?


    1. Author
      Padraig

      All: Thanks for the great comments.

      I will say that when considering about Armstrong and his statements/actions the man must be viewed in two chapters. His mouth before cancer was not the same mouth post cancer. I’ve interviewed him pre and post, and the guy was much more considered and thoughtful in his statements post cancer. Similarly, his racing was much less brash post cancer, but then for a whole year most of Steve Bauer and Phil Anderson’s jobs were to teach him the correct time to attack. I don’t think you can find a recorded instance of him disregarding an order from Bruyneel.

      It’s unfortunate Contador’s animosity for Armstrong is so public. I’m not so sure that Armstrong dislikes Contador in the same way.


    2. Author
      Padraig

      “I’m not so sure that Armstrong dislikes Contador in the same way.”

      Scratch that. Just Tweeted by Lance:

      “Hey pistolero, there is no ‘i’ in “team.” What did i say in March? Lots to learn. Restated.”

  13. Jefie

    Really puzling about this Radioshack sponsorship thing. Living in Fort Worth, Texas just dont see how they have the money to do this. Several years ago they laid off 100’s of employees sold off some of their buildings downtown and were supposedly close to Bankruptcy. Where did thise Millions of dollars come from.
    Also Radioshack Corporate is locate here in Fort Worth, Texas but here recently they chose to have functions promoting the new team in other cities in othe states, obviously dont care about the local scene.

    Someone asked will this team be based out of Fort Worth, theres a joke. They will probably never show there face unless its for a promotional photo op and if they do they will never promote so we they average joe cyclist can go and support.

  14. Charles Cushman

    Couldn’t find the best location to post this but, if LA is going to be doing triathlons again, I am wondering with the extra upper body strength if he is going to try some one day races and try to create a legacy that is broader than just his Tour de France wins. He is no Merck, but if I was him I would broaden my palmarès.

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