Time to move on after Armstrong's era
Andy Schleck (RadioShack Nissan) was in Paris for the 2013 Tour de France route unveiling but found himself out in the cold when race organisers ASO cherry picked a number of riders onto the stage. Schleck, the official winner of the 2010 race, was passed over while the rider who was stripped of the 2010 title for doping, Alberto Contador, was allowed up.
Schleck, attending the event without his brother Fränk - who is waiting for a case into a positive test to be resolved - appeared unaffected by the snub and praised the overall route of the 2013 Tour.
"I believe it's a hard parcours. The first days in Corsica I know a bit and while they maybe look flat, they're not. Maybe the first day is for sprinters but the second day is hard. After that it's the Pyrenees, which maybe aren't not too hard but I see the Alps, I see the Ventoux, as key stages. I can't complain about the parcours and it's a nice route for climbers."
Schleck has endured a difficult season. He was unable to factor in the Ardennes Classics, while a running feud with former team manager, Johan Bruyneel, appeared to escalate when the two clashed in the press over the role of Kim Andersen in the team.
The 2010 Tour winner then suffered a fractured pelvis in a crash at the Critérium du Dauphiné in June, effectively ending his season. Problems with his comeback meant he was unable to race until the Tour of Beijing, which he quit on the final day. Off the bike, his brother Frank was forced to leave the Tour after testing positive Xipamide. His case has yet to conclude.
"I hope that justice will win and I believe in justice," Schleck said when asked about his brother's case, before turning attention back to his own form.
"Right now I'm not a sprinter, a climber or a time trialist," he told Cyclingnews.
"As I said before I have to heal 100 percent and train, not too much because that is the mistake I made before and that's why I'm still suffering."
Asked if can reach the level of fitness and form pre-injury, he confidently said, "I believe I can get better. I'm getting older and stronger."
"I have to try hard and work hard because I'm far behind. First I have to take care of my injury. Its not 100 percent but I'm confident it will be. I won't go I'm saying this or this guy is the guy to beat because first I have to be 100 percent able to compete with Alberto, to fight on the climbs."
While ASO understandably not recognising Armstrong in their centenary presentation - the only flicker came with a second long image of the American scampering across a field in Gap in 2003 - the post presentation Q&As were dominated by the American's doping past. Earlier in the week, Schleck told reporters that the sport should move forward and while he echoed those sentiments in Paris is also appeared to take a slightly sterner line with the past.
"I think we need to draw a line. That's the past. We can't forget what happened in the past, it's hard, it's bad and its disgusting but we have to move on: Not just the riders but also the people behind, who maybe pulled the triggers."
Schleck's own brother was tied to Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes, having made payments to the doctor at the centre of Operacion Puerto, but Andy said, "I've had so many tests in my career. I started my career and the biological passport came in. I have never been involved with doping and I've never touched anything."
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