Johan Bruyneel's Blog
27 July 2012 at 11:00

2012 Tour de France Blog #4 - Closing Thoughts & Looking Ahead


Legends are made every July and Bradley Wiggins has etched a permanent place in the history books.  The Tour de France is arguably the hardest sporting event in the world and Wiggo and Team Sky's domination was nothing short of impressive.  Chapeau to Bradley, Chris Froome, Mark Cavendish, the entire Team Sky squad and Dave Brailsford.  And special congratulations to a great friend, Sean Yates, for leading Sky to the ultimate level of success.  I  must say, I was a bit unsure if Sky would be able to successfully manage Cav and Wiggo's objectives.   What could have been a very divided team appeared to be united and I credit Sean and the directors for maximizing the potential of each rider.  
Additional Tour thoughts:
-  I've heard a lot of talk that this year's Tour was boring.  While the Yellow jersey only switched bodies once, I don't necessarily have that opinion.  The beauty of sport lies in it being unscripted and I think we need to recognize that each Tour and every stage are never the same. Now how is that boring?
-  After having very few top results before the Tour, I am very happy with how RADIOSHACK NISSAN TREK responded in July … Fabian winning the Prologue and taking the Yellow Jersey, the team's week long defense of the Jersey, Haimar Zubeldia's fourth career top ten Tour de France overall finish (6th place) and last, but certainly not least, capturing the title of the best team.  Some questioned if the team would show up and be competitive and I think we answered with a resounding - YES.  
-  To win the team GC takes a true team effort - from the riders to the directors to the support staff.  Even when we were down to 7 riders, the team continued to fight day in and day out and successfully achieved the goal we set prior to the Tour.  Each and every RADIOSHACK NSSAN TREK member deserved the honor of standing on the Champs.
- I've always been one to admit mistakes and let me say - I was wrong to not include Chris Horner at first.  We had a bit of a miscommunication plus I had my doubts that he could perform at a high level given his back injury, but once the race started, Chris put all those concerns to rest.  He was a loyal domestique and proved to me that he should have been one of our protective riders.  Simply put, I'm glad to have Chris on my team.  
- Do I even need to talk about Jens and Popo?  If you saw the Tour, then you know what I'm talking about.  These are the riders you love to have on your team.  They define what it means to be team players and sacrifice themselves for the good of the team.
Looking Ahead:
-  Before we look ahead, special congratulations to Giacomo Nizzolo for winning the overall in the Tou de Wallonie.  It's been a strong July for the team at the Tour, Austria and now Wallonie.  Let's keep the momentum going!  
- We move from the Tour to the Olympics. It will be interesting to see if the Tour riders can sustain their form or if the non-Tour riders' fresh legs will win out.
-  I'm happy to report that Andy Schleck is set to resume racing soon. We've established a schedule for the remainder of the season where he should be in a good position to attain results - USA Pro Cycling Challenge, Canadian races, followed by Worlds and the two Chinese races.  
-  As of today, our Vuelta team will be led by Maxime Monfort and Tiago Machado. Final selection of the roster has yet to be decided, but I can declare that we will show up in Pamplona with a very competitive squad.  I expect Contador, being the Champion he is, will show up in top form and more motivated than ever.  We will aim for a top ten placing for Maxime and Tiago, stage wins and the team GC.  
Thanks again for reading my Tour blogs and, more importantly, continuing to support the team.  
Talk soon - 

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