Leopard: Getting the Team Back Together for One Last Job
OK, so the headline was a little misleading, but the way in which the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project (www.leopard.lu) is putting a squad together around the brothers Schleck has all the adventure, enterprise – and not to mention speed – of a good old-fashioned heist movie.
Austrian Stefan Denifl, Australian Will Clark and Frenchman Brice Feillu have all signed for the team today; Denifl, or so the press release rather touchingly says, is, at 23 “still in the process of finding out what he does best”. Let’s label him the rookie who needs to be taken under somebody’s wing. Will Clark is the young powerhouse who’ll do anything for his comrades; Feillu, the maverick looking to prove himself, who, in his 2009 Tour de France stage win to Andorra, gave a hint of his stage-race potential.
Grizzled vet Stuart O’Grady, entering his 15th season of professional cycling, will marshall the youngsters, his signing announced just a day after Linus Gerdemann, Jakob Fuglsang and Fabian Wegmann added their names to the roster.
The team’s got it all: youth; experience; a Paris-Roubaix winner; at least three grand tour contenders; a metric ton of climbing prowess. Truly, enough to more than blow the bloody doors off.
“I love it when a plan comes together,” Andy Schleck may or may not have said, though rumors that he was rubbing his hands together and smoking a large cigar at the time have been denied.