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Andy Schleck looking for a top ten result in Oman

Cycling News
February 18, 21:55,
February 18, 20:57
First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Road map to success? Andy Schleck weighs up his options in the woods of the Luxembourg Ardennes.

Road map to success? Andy Schleck weighs up his options in the woods of the Luxembourg Ardennes.

  • Road map to success? Andy Schleck weighs up his options in the woods of the Luxembourg Ardennes.
  • Fränk and Andy Schleck at the 2014 Trek team launch
  • Andy Schleck (RadioShack Leopard)

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Luxembourg rider makes his racing debut with Trek Factory Racing

Andy Schleck made a low-key season debut at the Tour of Oman, finishing 83rd in the peloton behind stage winner Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol), but explained to Cyclingnews that he is confident that his career is back on track after a solid winter of training.

"The first race of the season is always kind of special but I think I'm going to be okay. I'm not nervous about the racing because I've been training good all winter. The early stages are for the sprinters and then it'll be more important to see where I stand," he told Cyclingnews.

Schleck looked lean as he rode in his black Trek Factory Racing kit. He also appears quietly confident that his physical problems and alleged psychological problems of the last two seasons are behind him. Other riders have revealed that Schleck was always motivated during training, convincing his teammates to clock up extra kilometres and miss coffee stops during training rides.

"The weather was pretty good in Luxembourg and so I was able to do more and better training than before," he said.

"We also did some training camps in Spain in December and then in Mallorca in January. We went back to Mallorca for a week before coming here too. We've been training good and I hope we can see the benefits of the work we've done."

Staying with the best 10

Schleck is looking for a performance and result that will further boost his moral and confidence for the rest of the 2104 season. He is curious to test himself against the likes of Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), especially on the mountain finish at Jabal Al Akhdhar (Green Mountain) on Saturday's fifth stage.

"I think it's too early to say now who is going to have a good season and who not. This race is about finding the racing rhythm," he said.

"There are some hard mountain stages coming up but I think the usual guys will be in front: Froome and Purito. We'll find out if I can go with them or not... I'm not specifically looking for a result that looks good on paper but I'd hope that on the climbs I can stay with the 10 best in front."

The Trek Factory Racing team has been built from the ashes of the Radioshack team. Andy Schleck and his brother Frank opted to stay with the team, accepting a lower salary in the hope they can resurrect their careers. The Tour of Oman is the first time the Schleck brothers have raced together since Frank was banned for doping at the 2012 Tour de France.

"It's definitely a new structure and we've had some changes but I'm sure we'll soon be in good shape for the Classics with Fabian (Cancellara) and then me and Frank back together for the stage races. It's nice to be back racing with him here. We didn't have that for a long time," Andy said with family pride.

The Trek Factory Racing team no longer orbits around the Schleck brothers, but Andy is convinced he can return to success in stage races and possible even Grand Tours. He believes he is too young to be written off just yet.

"I'm still young even if this is my ninth professional season," he said when asked if he considers himself part of the younger generation in the team or part of the old guard.

"I've got a few years on my back but I'm only 28. I've got plenty of time ahead of me to do well."

GuyIncognito 5 months ago
If he does get that top 10 that he wants, it will literally be the first time in his career that he does it in a February race. And he's only ever done it in a pre-April race once (8th at Eroica years back)
bike_boy 5 months ago
Andy is building for a huge year, I wish him success. I'd like to see him go head to head with richie froome in the TDF.
bianchi1885 5 months ago
And I would like to see the US put a man back on the moon again.
Nicolaj221 5 months ago
70kmph 5 months ago
These guy paid millions for 80th place, nice
azureskies 5 months ago
what is your backround in cycling, son?
70kmph 5 months ago
lol what, he rides like a domestique
Uncle_Tod 5 months ago
And yet still you are unable to follow his wheel, especially on climbs.... he was one of the best climbers in the world from 2009-2011 in his pre fracture seasons. You obviously forget he climbed massive obstacles and stuck with it... that to me deserves respect.
Manuel Schoel 5 months ago
But in sports you pay for the now and not the yesterday! And at the moment he is not living up to his former results. That is a fact. You can respect his palmares in the past but also criticize his achievements today.
TheFred 5 months ago
For the last couple years, every word that comes out of his mouth sounds like, "I'm gunna do it again one day, really, you just wait, I mean it. Now, just give me a couple a million and keep waiting."
essaye 5 months ago
it was a sprinter's stage. I'm sure whoever your GC favorite is, also finished lower than 20 or 30. Do you even know anything about competitive cycling??
boombastic 5 months ago
he makes me smile :D
JorgeZZ 5 months ago
Top10. What a mission!
like2pedal 5 months ago
Top 10? The only way that will happen is if there are 9 people racing.
Never wait 5 months ago
No ITT then...
srsplato 5 months ago
Khachik Tadevosyan 5 months ago
Great Andy!!! Close the mouths of all the skeptics!!! You're the most talented cyclist of the generation....And I'm sure with a bit luck you'll finally complete your mission and win one more TDF, already on the roads not in the court.
Angliru 5 months ago
"Most talented cyclist of the generation" would have more big wins on his palmares. He's talented yes but you do a disservice to those riders that actually show themselves in races for more than 4 weeks out of the season. He's never won a grand tour on the road. He's a stage racer that has never actually won a major stage race. I'm hoping he returns to his old form too so that Sky won't have a cakewalk to another Tour win.
kdogg64 5 months ago
He won the 2010 Tour de France on the rode, as we all know AC was doping. That makes him the winner.
Angliru 5 months ago
As close as he and Frank are and you're to believe that Andy is the Polly Purebread of cycling? He's of such natural ability that he's able to beat his juiced up rivals? Add to that we're to believe that with all the drama swirling around Riis and the riders that have ridden for him, Andy should be spared from suspicion?
arlobike 5 months ago
I still don't understand the logic that says a race victory doesn't count if the only person who finished ahead of you was later disqualified for cheating. A rider who was "beaten" by a cheater on race day has already lost so much -- why refuse to give the remaining credit that is due to them?
TheFred 5 months ago
What they don't say speaks volumes. Would you not be completely outraged that someone cheated to take your win and glory? I would!!! I'd be pi$$ed big time! And you better believe I'd shout from the rooftops, "I WON THE TOUR DE FRANCE!!!" I'd want the money, the accolades, a special ceremony, and I'd be highly vocal against cheaters. But they don't. They're quiet. They say NOTHING. And if they do speak, they say something like, "I didn't win it on the road". Now you tell me...why don't they--all of them--claim their rightful victory?!?
arlobike 5 months ago
My longer reply keeps getting swallowed by the moderation feature, so I guess you get the last word on that. ;-)
Sillaz 5 months ago
I want to see all the negative comments about Andy when the tour of oman finishes. We need to give him some support for the sake of the sport considering the fact that he did not compete on his normal levels on the past 2 years and now he is trying his best to be up there with the best. Go Andy.
TommyD 5 months ago
I think that it is more likely that in the past 2 years he has been competing on "normal" levels. That's why, being the top end of mediocre as he is, he has seen his best results. He "won" the tour when he was the only rider able to keep up with Alberto on the sauce (he was caught). Since then Andy's not been as good. Maybe it's just the shock at finding out he was the only rider who is naturally as good as Contador on the sauce. Maybe there's another reason. Let's see how he does in Oman, and the Ardennes, and the Tour and the dope controls.
azureskies 5 months ago
Andy and Franke give an upbeat feeling to the sport. When Andy is on, if you have raced, or are an avid informe fan, you will be able to recognize their talents. They may only be in the top thirty in GT TTs, but their climbing and recovery skills are phenomenal. As for doping, I guess I must assume that you have concrete facts, TommyD, or you never would have made your statement accusing Andy Schleck of being a doper.
kdogg64 5 months ago
You are correct that there is no concrete evidence, but it's tough to believe that AS was the only guy who could keep up with AC on the hardest climbs that year.
azureskies 5 months ago
By that measure, look at who was riding with Armstrong on Ventoux in 2009. Evans, Contador, Schleck(s) other Astana teamates, some of Voecklers teamates,Vandevelde. Innocent until proven guilty. Unlike some of the guys who were caught, Andy looks to have awesome power on the climbs, a beautiful thing. Believe.
TommyD 5 months ago
Thanks for the comment, hilarious. Confusing though. Like I say, let's see how he goes in all the tests (athletic, psychological, pharmaceutical... what I would call evidence). Evidence for the past few years is that as a grand tour rider he is a reasonable also ran who got lucky once, like you have pointed out.
arlobike 5 months ago
"Since then Andy's not been as good.... Maybe there's another reason." The two stated reasons seem believable enough to me: it took a while to recover from a broken pelvis, and he was less confident riding without his brother. It is possible that seeing Contador and/or Frank get busted inspired him to abandon a doping program, but I don't think that would even set him back as far as he has been recently. Sigh ... I wonder if assessing a professional rider's performance will ever again be about their training, talent and mental strength and not a bunch of theories about who was doping when.
arlobike 5 months ago
To clarify, I'm not saying we should pretend there's no doping or whatever ... just frustrated that this is what a couple generations of hard-core dopers and their enablers have turned the sport into.