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Andy Schleck leads RadioShack-Leopard Tour de France team

Barry Ryan
June 19, 2013, 10:36,
June 19, 2013, 11:49
First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Tour de France
Andy Schleck (RadioShack Leopard) is starting to look like his old self again

Andy Schleck (RadioShack Leopard) is starting to look like his old self again

  • Andy Schleck (RadioShack Leopard) is starting to look like his old self again
  • Andy Schleck (RadioShack Leopard) is continuing his build up for the Tour de France in Switzerland
  • Andy Schleck (RadioShack - Leopard)
  • The 2013 RadioShack Leopard team was presented in Spain.

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Podium place "unrealistic" says Guercilena

Andy Schleck has been named as leader of the RadioShack-Leopard team for the 100th edition of the Tour de France but team manager Luca Guercilena has downplayed expectations admitting that a podium finish for the Luxembourger is "unrealistic."

Schleck has endured a difficult period since a fractured pelvis at the 2012 Critérium du Dauphiné ruled him out of last year’s Tour. Although he was able to return to action at the end of last season, he struggled for form and motivation through the early months of the new campaign. In recent weeks Schleck has shown signs of improvement by completing the Tour of California and Tour de Suisse, and he is reported to have trained well in between the two races, enough to ensure his protected status in the team.

“We are happy to see that Andy is back,” Guercilena said. “Nobody in the team ever had doubts about the talent of Andy. Little by little he has come back to the level where we expect him. The Tour de Suisse encouraged and convinced us to give him the role he deserves and to give him the opportunity to have dedicated riders surrounding and supporting him.”

Given Schleck’s difficult start to the season and his fragile morale – in particular, the 27-year-old is said to have felt the absence of his brother Fränk, who is serving a one-year ban for a positive test for the diuretic Xipamide, Guercilena was keen to emphasis that he will line up in Corsica on June 29 unburdened by expectation.

“Of course we don’t put pressure on our champion. After the last twelve months it would be unrealistic to expect a podium place,” Guercilena said. “On the other hand, the lack of stress and pressure can be a positive stimulus to a brilliant performance.”

Schleck has finished on the podium in three of his four Tour appearances to date. He came second in 2009 and 2011, and was awarded victory in 2010 following Alberto Contador’s positive test for clenbuterol.

The RadioShack-Leopard Tour team will also feature Haimar Zubeldia, Andreas Klöden and Maxime Monfort, who have all finished in the top ten at Grand Tours in recent years.

“You can consider Haimar as our second weapon,” Guercilena said of the Basque, who finished sixth last year. “He is always consistent and delivers his best.”

41-year-old Jens Voigt gets the nod to start his 16th consecutive Tour de France, while Schleck’s fellow countryman Laurent Didier makes his Grande Boucle debut. Tony Gallopin, Markel Irizar and Jan Bakelants also feature in the team.

Fabian Cancellara had previously announced his decision to skip this year’s Tour, while US veteran Chris Horner is out of action due to a long-running knee problem.

“Every professional rider wants to ride the Tour and we had more than nine riders in good shape, ready to tackle this 100th Tour de France,” Guercilena said. “It was, for instance, a hard decision not to select champions like Gregory Rast and Stijn Devolder, but we made the choice in good conscience, taking into account the goals we want to reach in this Tour.”

RadioShack-Leopard team for the Tour de France: Jan Bakelants (Bel), Laurent Didier (Lux), Tony Gallopin (Fra), Markel Irizar (Spa), Andreas Klöden (Ger), Maxime Monfort (Bel), Andy Schleck (Lux), Jens Voigt (Ger) and Haimar Zubeldia (Spa).



tralala More than 1 year ago
godspeed! or warp speed, any speed would do.
cristi1 More than 1 year ago
hope to see andy at 75% of his potential because he is one of the most spectacular riders in the peloton joining contador,purito or valverde.
indurain666 More than 1 year ago
Spectacular? I mean, I like the guy, but every time he was racing against Contador he never had the guts to fully go for it, he always seemed content following wheels and finishing on the race podium. There is something wrong with this guy, and I have a feeling is not the pelvis.
Mark Schwitau More than 1 year ago
He has finished on the Podium of the toughest race in the world 3 out of 4 tries. With one win. That is pretty good. What have you done at the very tip top of your profession the last 4 years?
cristi1 More than 1 year ago
but he always tried to do something, remember galibier. he is not pleased with 2nd place. Personally i miss a battle contador-andy.
sur la plaque More than 1 year ago
You really weren't paying attention during the 2011 TDF were you??? We can debate how clean he is or isn't all day long but accusing him of following the wheels we cannot.
Takoshi More than 1 year ago
Agree. I also like the guy. But, honestly, he could perform far better than he does. His show against Contador was really Contador's show. No room for him in this TDF. Unfortunately, procastinating is against his vile.
ButterBeanBenny74 More than 1 year ago
One of the most spectacular dopers in the peloton joining the other three dopers. I should say past dopers, because look at Schlecks form now. Good to see they are all human again. Schleck won't finish the Tour.
movingtarget More than 1 year ago
I agree. Andy won't see Paris unless he arrives by autobus. 2014 for him to get his career back on track.
Takoshi More than 1 year ago
Back on track if he also returns to a "just a little help from my friends..."
dsotherby More than 1 year ago
I have to agree to the doping reference (although I'm not sure how you can be so confident about him not finishing, I'm guessing that's your passion against doping talking). It's clear that Andy's success was built on his doping preparation, not his talent. This is a good example of how doping skews everything and why it's not equal. Everyone reacts to doping differently and some reap higher benefits than others (and some can simply afford to spend more on it). Andy got a head start on his career with PEDs because of his brothers influence (Frank already admitted to working with the infamous Spanish doping doctor Fuentes), but it's obvious he's been trying to ride clean the last couple years. Andy may have moments of brilliance in the future, just like 1/3 of the peloton, but I do not think we'll ever see him consistently at the top end of the sport.
Cance > TheRest More than 1 year ago
... Why is it clear that Andy had no talent??? :o
dsotherby More than 1 year ago
I did not say he did not have talent, I said the greater part of his success was due to his PED use, big difference. Many of the pros out there are extremely talented. But based on Andy's performance in the last couple years, when he was presumably riding clean, it becomes very clear that he is not of the same cut as those he once rode shoulder to shoulder with during his hay-day (a time that we can all agree was still dominated by PED use). In the end, Andy was one of the best during the end of the full-fledged PED years (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011) and now he can't compete in a cleaner peloton...? If he had the kind of talent we're talking about, he'd still be at the head of the field.
Cance > TheRest More than 1 year ago
... So u think the peloton is clean now :O ???
dsotherby More than 1 year ago
The indicators of a cleaner peloton include: slower times, more off days, and, perhaps most importantly, lower w/kg. I don't need to get into the details, but you can google some of the research that's out there that suggest a much cleaner peloton than a few years ago. Even the reaction to doping positives is different now than it was in 2010. If you get popped now, the peloton will voice their disapproval in anger over the social webosphere. Just 3 years ago you had guys like Andy saying it wasn't fair when someone like Contador was popped. I'd say attitudes are changing and I'm cautiously optimistic for the next few years ahead.
Ken Bellone More than 1 year ago
I like Andy. It's just my "opinion", but I think he's lost the fire. You can realistically predict the likely winner amongst 3 guys or so. In the last 25 years, I've only missed the winner in my top three 3 times: Armstrong, Riis and Periero (who saw THAT!). Yes, I did see Indurain in '91 (along with Bugno and Breukink). I don't see Andy in that group this year.
Jeff41 More than 1 year ago
The headlines should be about Jens not Andy, 41 years old same age as me, how does he do it....hats off !
maninder506 More than 1 year ago
Jens is BADASS.. hihi.. i love that guy... :)
Brett Wolfe More than 1 year ago
"I'm Jen motherf***ing Voigt" should be on a t-shirt, just like "Shut up legs!".
Chris Jasmer More than 1 year ago
What a crime to leave Busche off the Tour team. He's been busting his butt for years and putting in top notch performances with no reward for them.
HCl+HN03 More than 1 year ago
Busche peaked for California and ride good in Daupinhe becuase of that, now he will have a go for Utah and Colorado. I pressume it is his own choice to focus on the american races.
ziaboulder More than 1 year ago
not sure about his US focus. He lives in Spain and races in Europe all the time.
HCl+HN03 More than 1 year ago
But he never really preform in europe. Dauphine was the first time I saw him do a decent result outside american soil.
ridingthewave More than 1 year ago
Must be doing his job at the European races.
ycpjoh More than 1 year ago
Wow, it's the cycling equivalent of Small Earthquake in Peru, Nobody Hurt. Why don't they just save the money and stay at home.
Brian Handy More than 1 year ago
Disappointed Bushe didn't make th teams his year, he would be more of an asset than that old curmudgeon Klöden IMO.
Ken Bellone More than 1 year ago
Who, the Klodi who started 17 grand tours, finished 8, but withdrew from 9?????
DrBigRing More than 1 year ago
Nothing like admitting defeat before the battle begins. Andy likely won't see Paris.
ridingthewave More than 1 year ago
Seems like the "good old" boys to me. Busche would have been a better choice than Kloden.
Raoul Duke More than 1 year ago
allez Jens!
azureskies More than 1 year ago
Does anyone really believe that Busche is on the same caliber as Kloeden? I believe that Kloeden won Paris-Nice in his first season as a pro, 1999. Kloeden podiumed Tour how many times? I would say the best looking rider, in terms of style in the peloton today. Doesn't ride a whole lot of races which keeps Kloeden fresh. On the otherhand it would be good to see Busche in the tour. I don't think Busche will ever be up to the caliber of rider as Talansky, Dombrowsky, TJ as far as US riders go.
Ricardo Gold More than 1 year ago
Sorry, but wnning Paris-Nice in 1999 doesnt mean anything for this Tour. His short term results this year were terrible. Actually not only him and Andy, Monfort and Zubeldia are also far from good form. If wasnt for the classics team, RSLT would be in trouble to secure a WordTour spot for 2014. It would be better to bring Jungels and give him experience than most of this team.
azureskies More than 1 year ago
You are probably right, Radioshack will probably be embarrassed in the Tour this year. Most likely the team will fold next year, World Tour points matter only for the riders of the shack, which will be looking for new jobs next year.
ridingthewave More than 1 year ago
I believe you are wrong in your assessment of Busche's caliber. He seems to do a lot of work for others and still manages to finish in a high position.
Cance > TheRest More than 1 year ago
Unfortunately Klödi's performance has been declining a lot during the last couple of years. He did good at last years TDF (top 15 or something), but this year he has been a shadow of the GT contender he once was.