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Andy Schleck: "It’s a new start and we’re back together again

By:
Daniel Benson
Published:
December 27, 2013, 11:33,
Updated:
December 27, 2013, 11:41
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, December 28, 2013
Andy Schleck (RadioShack Leopard)

Andy Schleck (RadioShack Leopard)

  • Andy Schleck (RadioShack Leopard)
  • Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck went head to head in 2010. Schleck was awarded the win a year later.
  • Andy Schleck will be looking to return to top form

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Trek rider back with his brother and ambitious for 2014

Andy Schleck has once again talked of his dream of winning the Tour de France and an Ardennes Classics but has admitted that Team Sky has become the benchmark for success in major races.

Speaking at the Trek Factory Team camp before the holidays, the Luxembourg rider also talked about his excitement at being part of a new team. With his brother also set to return to racing, he is hoping for another title bid for the maillot jaune.

Since both finishing on the podium in the 2011 Tour de France, the Schleck brothers have been dogged by injury and poor form. Older brother Frank was handed a year-long suspension after traces of Xipamide were found in his system during the 2012 Tour de France, while Andy has taken much longer than expected to return to his previous high levels after fracturing his hip in 2012. At this year’s Tour de France he struggled to 20th place overall.

However with an injury-free pre-season behind him and his brother back in race team colours from January 1, Andy is keen on making a point in 2014.

“I have one goal and I believe I’m right on track. I have a good bike and once I have good feeling in the races I can work on the results. Right now I’m working and I’m feeling good. Frank returns now and of course that’s good for me also as it’s a new start with a new team. I want to show that I’m still there but I don’t put a mark, set a target,” he said at the team’s recent training camp in Spain.

The Schlecks became the first brothers to stand on the same Tour podium in 2011 when they finished behind Australia's Cadel Evans. Andy officially became the post-dated winner of the Tour in 2010 after Alberto Contador was stripped of his title. He also finished second the year before to Contador as well. Despite that pedigree, the younger sibling is aware that setting his sights too high may be premature.

“Everyone that knows me and knows what I’m capable of doing. I have big ambitions but after the last two years I don’t want to say I’m going to win Liege-Bastogne-Liege. My dream is to win Liege, the Tour, the Vuelta and all the other races, but I'm aiming lower. I want to get the good shape back first and then we’ll see where I go from that.”

“The first goal is the Ardennes and I really want to focus on them and then I’ll focus on having a good Tour de France. Right now I can ride pain free and I’m good.”

Sky the benchmark

Since 2011 Team Sky has won back-to-back Tours with Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome laying down dominant performances. The last time the Schlecks and Wiggins genuinely locked horns in a Grand Tour was as far back as 2009 when the British rider was at Garmin. Froome's rise to the top has almost coincided with the brothers' two-year slump.

“They do things differently,” Andy said when asked about Team Sky and if whether their marginal gains approach has left the Schlecks behind.

“Everyone talks about how they train and it’s impressive how they race but this year at the Tour, in terms of the whole team, they lacked a little bit. If Froome wasn’t that strong he would have lost because of the team. We do our thing and maybe Sky are a benchmark but we don’t copy them.”

“They also have the science and the training but they also have a big budget so they can have the best riders in the world. Big riders cost money and they have it. I don’t think at all that we’re behind. Maybe we’re ahead, maybe not of Sky but certainly of other teams.”


 

bike_boy 10 months ago
Andy will go into the tour as the clear favorite.
bianchi1885 10 months ago
LOL
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SourKraut 10 months ago
Teehee
nowhereman 10 months ago
You livin' in CO., where they smoke weed for recreation??
sbroaddus 10 months ago
no, the boy just likes to provoke, that's all.
qwerty 10 months ago
i liked
wheel chaser 10 months ago
bike_boy just awoke from a long coma.
Cance > TheRest 10 months ago
Incredible how many that doesnt see the irony of Bike_Boys comment lol
Khachik Tadevosyan 10 months ago
Andy Schleck will win the Tour! When?...Maybe not in 2014 or 2015 but he still has 4-5 Tours to win! He's,definitely, the most talented climber of the generation.
TheMightyMouse 10 months ago
He is, but for all his talent he hasn't shown as much as he should have...
TwoTones 10 months ago
4 podiums in GTs, LBL, and multiple stage wins in the tour. Beside Alberto and Purito (both older), give me a ride with better stats?
bianchi1885 10 months ago
Vincenzo Nibali. Two GT victories plus 4 GT podiums, 2 Monument podiums, and 2 T-A overalls, plus multiple stage wins at the Giro and Vuelta.
nowhereman 10 months ago
What generation? The one with Contador in it? Climbing alone does not win a Tour de France. He has shown that already in his titanic FAIL when he should have won the Tour but lost it on the Time Trial course. Sorry but he's not the Superstar so many want to proclaim him to be. One Liege-Bastogne-Liege does not make a superstar. (And please, spare me the TdF title that he was "gifted" - even he knows he did not WIN that title, that's why he still dreams of winning that title, as he has been quoted as saying recently) He was always a "contender" now he should be earning that consideration back with performances worthy of it. The jury is out on whether he even deserves that consideration, as last years performances were not worthy of it.
Cance > TheRest 10 months ago
Being a superstar or not has nothing to with his current results. It's his personality and palmares we are talking about. I'd still call Evans a superstar, even if he is not able to win the Tour anymore, results or not.
vassosa 10 months ago
The most talentd climber is Nairo Quintana, that's for sure. Only if you consider they are not of the same generation. But that would mean Schleck is past...
sbroaddus 10 months ago
if he'd ridden the Vuelta this year, he might've gotten a podium spot BEHIND Nibali and Horner. no, he's not the most talented climber (yet).
cantpedal 10 months ago
NQ is arguably in a different generation and has yet, only shown the same promise Andy did early on.
Reemmo 10 months ago
Quintana is great, no doubt. But as has been pointed out he IS NOT of Schlecks generation. Greatest of the current crop of young men? We'll see. I think a little more time is needed to see if he can exhibit the consistency that is needed to be labeled "the Greatest" Our society is working real hard at labeling things these days, and cheapening the value of those labels in the process. But there is really no argument from me. Last year, his break out year, was impressive. Let's just see how Movistar brings him along.
wirral 10 months ago
When Schleck Dog barks, I eat a cheese & onion sandwich. Woof woof. Sorry I just can't take the guy seriously.
Anonymous 10 months ago
off season delusional riders, just love this stuff haha
Darren Reimer 10 months ago
Schleck fractured his pelvis, not his hip. Check your facts Daniel.
Eli3101 10 months ago
Technically the Sacrum is not really the pelvis. It's a triangular group of of vertebrae between your lowest spinal vertebrae and the tailbone. It does however sit inside the Pelvic Cavity. You are correct though, definitely not part of the hip, lol.
Darren Reimer 10 months ago
Ja, the hip would be even harder to recover from I think.:)
rshimizu12 10 months ago
Still cannot understand why Trek placing so much hope on the Schleck's and yet they are unwilling to sign Chris Horner. If age is the issue put him on performance contract.
sam171 10 months ago
id like to see the schlecks' salary reductions.
dsotherby 10 months ago
Bingo.
movingtarget 10 months ago
Comparative to their loss of brain cells I'd say. It must be nice living in fantasy land.
FabiquesAnquetillara 10 months ago
Horner got offered contract. It was Horner who said no. Horner should only blame Horner for not riding in 2014,provided he really wanted to.
sbroaddus 10 months ago
Horner will ride in 2014. Don't worry about the old man.... he'll be fine.
HeadPack 10 months ago
You seem to know more than the rest of us. Like to fill us in on the details?
rshimizu12 10 months ago
It's kind of strange how RadioShack/Trek then refused to continue negotiating with Horner.
Cance > TheRest 10 months ago
Though I dont believe Frank will be back to his best next year, he has at no point in his career suffered from a resultwise downfall the same way as his brother did. There is no empirical reasons to believe Frank won't be able to compete on a decent level in the races he participates in.
BackSeatRider 10 months ago
I am having a case of Deja Vu. I feel like I have read this exact article before.
Alejandro Marinero 10 months ago
Since Roche, Quintana and Rodriguez are committed to race in the Giro, 2014 TDF is Froome vs Contador vs Nibali vs Valverde. Add Kreuzeger, Vandenbrouck, Wiggins, Horner (if he could find a team), Uran, and Betauncur. Perhaps Andy could still barge into top 20.
BackSeatRider 10 months ago
I think Uran will be headed to the Giro as well
unc_sammy 10 months ago
I reckon and there's Rui Costa too, now a leader at Lampre. He could easily blitz the Schlecks.
Cance > TheRest 10 months ago
Wiggins?????????????????????
DrBigRing 10 months ago
Everyone knows what he's capable of doing--losing loads of time during ITT stages.
azureskies 10 months ago
Actually it would be nice to see Horner riding alongside the Schlecks in the tour. All popular and talented riders. As talented as Quintana is, just not as popular as Horned and the Schlecks.
the vagabond 10 months ago
The Schlecks are popular?
TheBean 10 months ago
Quintana gained a LOT of fans by being the "David" to Froome's "Goliath". He put up a good scrap in the mountains and definitely animated the race. Meanwhile, Schleck was back in the pack either hanging on for dear life or slowly fading out of contention with each subsequent climb.
azureskies 10 months ago
Quintana is an incredibly talented rider. His sponsor advertises in Mexico. I am sure in Latin America he is a big hit. I believe the main market for cycling is in Northern Europe, Australia, NZ, Italy and Spain. With Spaniards, Italians, and Northern Eurpeans, and Angloes, you get national rivalries which fans can get fired up about. You can see it at the races, Belgian, Basque, Kiwi, etc, flags flying. Hopefully Quintana will win a GT soon, and he will bring in his fan base, to the races.In the meantime we have our precious Frank and Andy.