Although the core of the RadioShack team at this year’s Tour de France won the race and team classification as Team Astana last year, and though the team features a seven-time Tour champion in Lance Armstrong, Team RadioShack is one of the few teams not hosting a pre-race press conference in Rotterdam.
Speculation was rife in the Tour press room Thursday that the RadioShack team preferred to avoid a chorus of questions regarding allegations by former U.S. Postal Service rider Floyd Landis of doping within Postal team, allegations that implicated Armstrong and team manager Johan Bruyneel.
However the team’s decision — or Armstrong’s decision, as the case may be — is not unprecedented.
On the eve of his comeback Tour one year ago, Armstrong did not appear before the press in Monaco. His Astana teammate Alberto Contador did, alone, flanked by Bruyneel. On the race’s subsequent rest days, Contador appeared at press conferences without Bruyneel, and was instead joined by his personal PR manager.
RadioShack team press officer Philippe Maertens confirmed with VeloNews.com via email that Armstrong would not hold a press conference prior to this year’s race: “Just as last year, Lance is not doing a pre-Tour press conference. It brought him luck last year. Everything has already been said last week in Luxembourg and Switzerland. He has nothing to add for the moment.”
Several top teams held press conferences Thursday, including Garmin-Transitions, Cervélo TestTeam, Quick Step and Saxo Bank.