Andy Schleck has hinted that he may not be part of the new Trek team in 2014 after his brother was not renewed by the current team management, purportedly as a consequence of his positive test for Xipamide during last year's Tour de France.
The Schleck brothers are very close and have always raced together. Andy reacted angrily to the news that his older brother and mentor had not been given a new contract for when his suspension ends on July 14. The two were expected to ride the Vuelta a Espana together. Now their future with the team is up in the air and they are considering their options.
"I can't really understand the decision. I'm sad and disappointed but I don't know what to say. Maybe they will use it against me and fire me as well," Andy told the AFP news agency before the start of the stage.
"But there are other things behind this decision. I don't think it is anything to do with the suspension. To kick him out of the team after 11 months of giving him their support, I just don't understand it."
Team manager Luca Guercilena is currently remodeling the team after current team owner Flavio Becca sold the team's WorldTour licence to Trek. Guercilena announced that Fabian Cancellara will be part of the new team.
He told Cyclingnews that he is currently negotiating with both Andy and Frank Schleck for 2014 and evaluating 'different options" with the brothers.
Andy is convinced that he will race with Frank in 2014 but perhaps not at Trek.
"We'll be together next year…" he said after the finish in Albi. Asked if that means he will leave the current squad and perhaps race for a rival team, Andy said: "Everything is possible…"
Staying motivated for the mountains
He revealed that the news of Frank's dismissal had been a blow but that he is trying to stay motivated on the Tour de France and good performance after a difficult and injury-hit 12 months.
"I have to some how keep on going," he said.
"For Frank it's not super. It's not a question of extra motivation. I just hope it does not break me. Not break me, but not slow me down. I try to think of the good things. That's how I keep going."
Schleck again finished in the front group on the stage to Albi. He currently 34th overall, 34 seconds down on Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge). He is 26 seconds down on Chris Froome (Team Sky) and 20 seconds behind (Alberto Contador).
"So far I'm feeling good. Yesterday we passed the 1000km mark in the Tour and that's always a first little step," he said.
"In two days time we've got the rest day and so in the next two stages I think we'll see a real race. We'll see if I'm here and can play for the GC or if I'm here to win a stage or any other goals."
"It's hard to say how I'm going because I've never been on the limit, on the point of really, going deep and suffer. We'll see it tomorrow (Saturday). We'll see who is strong and not so strong."