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Schleck back in action at the GP Camaiore

Stephen Farrand
February 28, 2013, 12:30,
February 28, 2013, 12:30
Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, February 28, 2013
Andy Schleck (RadioShack Leopard) before the start at Camaiore.

Andy Schleck (RadioShack Leopard) before the start at Camaiore.

  • Andy Schleck (RadioShack Leopard) before the start at Camaiore.
  • Andy Schleck (RadioShack Leopard) takes the start of the GP Camaiore.

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RadioShack Leopard rider looks to put "dark moment" behind him

Andy Schleck started the GP Camaiore race in Tuscany on Thursday, with his Radioshack Leopard team hoping he can finish his first race for almost year.

Schleck came to Tuscany after training in Mallorca for ten days, hoping to finally put his problems behind him. He quit the Tour Méditerranéen on stage one citing illness and has now not finished a race since the 2012 Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

His negative spiral of results and problems began last June when he fractured his pelvis during the time trial stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné in early June. Schleck missed the Tour de France and his comeback was delayed several times, with his bother's doping case also creating problems and difficulties within the Radioshack-Leopard team.

A recent report in L'Équipe compared Schleck to Jan Ullrich, questioning Schleck's self-discipline and lack of motivation to that of the former German rider.

Schleck's poor performances have been ridiculed by many people, especially on social media. However, it seems Schleck's problems are more complicated than just a lack of fitness and motivation.

New Radioshack-Leopard team manager Luca Guercilena has hit back at the criticism, confirming that the team is trying to help Andy get his season and career back on track.

"I think it's sad that whenever a rider goes through a difficult moment in life, a lot of people in cycling forget all the good things they have achieved," Guercilena said.

"Andy is human just like anyone else and so can have difficult moments in life. We're trying to help him and help him get back to his best. We're ready to accept any criticism of what we do but to target Andy and try to undermine him psychologically is unfair."

Schleck seemed keen to race when he stepped off the Radioshack bus before the start of the GP Camaiore. The team had informed Cyclingnews that Schleck would not talk to the media but he was willing to explain how he is feeling.

"In training some good sensations are coming back. I'm feeling good, so we'll see what happens," he said.

"The race route makes me worried, it’s tough, but the objective is to finish. I've got an important week coming and so this is an important race."

Schleck avoided making eye contact when talking. He admitted that the criticism had hurt him but showed signs of wanting to prove he is on his way back.

"I know what I have to do. People talk about you if you go good and talk if you good bad. It's not motivating but I need to be good in races for my own confidence," he said.

"I know that people care about me but they haven't been through what I've been through last year: a long time without racing. I have people on my side and they're supporting me really well. I've got a lot of support from the team and everyone. I'd like to show everybody that I'm still here."

Guercilena described Andy Schleck's problem as a 'momento buio’ – a dark moment – that has affected him more psychologically than physically.

"Physically he's pretty good. He trained intensively for ten days in Mallorca under the guidance of Kim Andersen. The goal today is to finish the race," he told Cyclingnews.

"His problems were caused by a series of factors from last year: his injury first of all and then the way his problem was managed. Then there's the family aspect: Frank's suspension, that caused psychological problems. And the psychology of a rider is always very important. Even if a rider has a decent level of fitness, psychological problems can cause bigger problems."

Guercilena confirmed that Schleck is set to ride Strade Bianche on Saturday and then stay in Italy to ride Tirreno-Adriatico, which starts next Wednesday.

"That's the plan at the moment, as long as there are no last minute problems," Guercilena said.

tralala More than 1 year ago
well then good luck. hopefully he doesn't quit on strade bianchi, would do him good to finish in the hard terrain and cold weather out there which he doesn't normally like.
Murali Parameswaran More than 1 year ago
i hope andy can be back for tdf.
Terrence Martineau More than 1 year ago
"His negative spiral of results and problems began last June when he fractured his pelvis during the time trial stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné in early June" No... he never had any results at all for the entire 2012 season, beginning to end... the pelvis thing was not the 'beginning' of his problem it was just the last nail in the coffin...
Terrence Martineau More than 1 year ago
"He trained intensively for ten days in Mallorca under the guidance of Kim Andersen." mean the same Kim Anderson that's has 7 doping positives? 3 doping positives just in 1986 alone! maybe we will see the old Andy Schleck return!
Terrence Martineau More than 1 year ago
Google: Tough On Doping, Tough On The Causes Of Doping - The Kim Andersen Files OR go to dopeology [dot] org (can't put links to website in this forum) he should have actually had a life time ban from the sport if it wasn't for the corrupt UCI.... and this is who Andy and Frank choose to work with a 7 time doping looser!
Eric Blais More than 1 year ago
It's funny how the Scheleck's always comme out in the media as cry babies. It is a professional sport, you are paid in part to play a role and have people $hit on you... hell you are handsomely paid to ride a bike, stop crying. Some of ous have to actually work instead of riding a bike. And don't give me the " I would not trade place with them"... Because yes I would, if I had the talent to do it.
Reemmo More than 1 year ago
It is understood that he has had a hard go in the last year. BUT, before we start shedding crocodile tears for poor Andy maybe we should revisit the past as Guercilena suggests. Andy has had success getting close to the top in the past, and that has given him celebrity in the cycling world, but he has not won anything other than Liege-Bastogne-Liege. On the other hand, the Schleck bros. have executed very poor, on the road, strategies for all of the world to see. Constantly looking for each other, to the point where the viewing audience is even aware of their overly dependent need to be near each other. Kim Andersen did not help the matter. Yes, he is back, but it's because he's "comfortable" for the Schleck bros. He is what they want. And the team is desperate to try and get them back on track. Before last year, the best results that Andy was getting were the ones where Frank was in fact NOT present. The year that he was AWARDED the TdF Frank was out of the race (but Kim was in charge, so Andy didn't fall apart- though he did throw a very unclassy and juvenile temper tantrum after the chaingate affair) Sorry, but this is a competitive sport. I once thought Andy had tons of potential, but now I wonder if he will ever recover from all the ridiculous buffering systems that he's surrounded himself with. Frank is just about over the hill, given his talents, and age. And if I had to bet, I'm sorry to say, I wouldn't put much money on Andy either, at this point. Fromme, Alberto, Alejandro, Joaquim, and Cadel all have far more heart, drive and determination than the younger Schleck. Not to mention Wiggins, and the ascending Tejay. Andy is not going to have things his way, anytime soon, so he better man up, or his time will pass too. Too bad
Alpe73 More than 1 year ago
Yes, it's a very small percentage of pros (in any sport) that can stay at the top of the game for a sustained period. The other riders that you mention, to their credit, have shown staying power and results. Will be interesting to see if Wiggins can display staying power and repeated results (as a roadie); Froome, as well. True about the Schleck tandem and their race strategies. Hopeful (but not optimistic) about A's chances this year.
Mark Schwitau More than 1 year ago
He's not exactly a big slob. I mean the guy has been on some pretty big podiums. What's the last big race most of the commenters have won? It's tough to say at the .002 % of cycIists in the world for 5 or 6 years straight. Especially after a pelvis fracture ( ouchX5) . He keeps coming back .... And keeps fighting, so give him a chance. Personally I prefer riskier riders like Valverde, Rodriguez and so forth, but gotta respect a guy for getting to that level.