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Schleck happy to be back in the Tour spotlight

Pete Cossins
June 27, 2013, 19:14,
June 28, 2013, 09:58
First Edition Cycling News, Friday, June 28, 2013
Tour de France, Stage 1
Andy Schleck (Team Radioshack Leopard)

Andy Schleck (Team Radioshack Leopard)

  • Andy Schleck (Team Radioshack Leopard)
  • Andy Schleck (Radioshack - Leopard) stays hydrated before the Tour
  • Andy Schleck and Luca Guercilena (Radioshack - Leopard)
  • Andy Schleck (Radioshack - Leopard)

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Says he not a favourite, but could be considered as an outsider

After a year that he confessed had been extremely testing in all kinds of different ways, Andy Schleck said he is feeling good and happy to be back at the Tour de France. The RadioShack rider missed last year's race after breaking his sacrum at the Dauphiné, then had another blow when his brother Fränk tested positive during the Tour.

"I'm not going to lie to you and tell you that it was easy because it wasn't. I had a rough time," he said. "But I had my family, my friends, the people sitting next to me who believe in me and helped me through this. I managed it pretty well."

Schleck acknowledged he has no idea what his prospects are for the Tour, saying he will only get an idea of this when the race reaches the first mountain stages. "I did a pretty good Tour of Switzerland and before that we did a lot of work, more than I've ever done before, but we will have to wait until the mountains to see how I really am," he said.

"I think I'm not too bad. The riders and the team believe in me and support me, and I believe in myself as well. I don't consider myself as a favourite to win this year's Tour de France. I could maybe be described as an outsider, and we'll see what I can do in that role."

He said, "I had some problems at the start of the season, which were perhaps related to the injury I had last season, but I got to the point where I thought, 'I don't want to get dragged down by negative things any more.' Instead I looked at small things like going up a climb in training with 10 additional watts and that was a positive thing for me. I was happy when I achieved small goals. That's how I got back up, by taking small steps. They say, 'What doesn't kill you makes you stronger', and I believe in that."

The Luxembourger said it was impossible to make comparisons between his condition now and how he was in 2011 when he finished runner-up to Cadel Evans at the Tour. But he did admit that if he were contemplating this year's route with the form he had in 2011, he would be going into the race believing he could win. "Today I can't say that. This is the first time that I've ever had problems in cycling. Now I have to pay attention to details, and really small details. For example, when I first rode the Tour my off-season weight was 66kg, but now it's 71 or 72kg."

As well as working hard on his condition, Schleck has also done a lot of reconnaissance of the route, riding no fewer than 21 of the race's categorised climbs. He's very happy with most of it, but had some harsh criticism for the "queen" stage featuring two ascents of Alpe d'Huez.

"The Alpe d'Huez stage is the kind of innovation we want to see - I really like it. Well, I like the climbs, but I don't like the descent. It's very dangerous. We went to see it a week after the Dauphiné and there were other riders there looking at it, and they also criticised it," he said.

"I don't understand this, because having a descent like this is not acceptable. But we have no choice. It's very dangerous because if you puncture and crash off the road you will fall more than just a few metres. It could be 50 or perhaps even 300 metres. We were shocked by that. I hope the organisation find a solution to that. There is still time before we reach that stage to do it."

Schleck played down the significance of his lack of victories this year, pointing out that's sometimes been the case in the past. "It's true I've had no victories this year and I don't know my limits are [given the problems I've had], but maybe that's a good rather than a bad thing," he said. "I hope my condition will increase during the race and that I will finally find out what my limits are during the Tour."


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DrBigRing More than 1 year ago
Andy is playing a bit of poker here. Like every other professional rider, he knows his wattage numbers and thus knows what kind of shape he's in. Notwithstanding his reference to off-season weight, he currently looks quite gaunt. Perhaps he's trying to hide his form. Hopefully that's the case and he adds some excitement to this year's race.
colnago200 More than 1 year ago
Achieved nothing this year - don't recall him even applying pressure on anyone at any point this year No good without the juice. Most overpaid cyclist without a doubt!
iZnoGouD More than 1 year ago
I don't get how he got to the top and he doesn't know how to train He must have been very juiced all those years
cthenn More than 1 year ago
Why is it that Schleck can ride like garbage for an entire season, then all of a sudden people are talking to him like he matters? And if he does somehow place highly, why do people give him a pass and say his previous results were because he doesn't like to train, or it's all mental, or he's still recovering from the hip injury, etc.
Bossbiker More than 1 year ago
maybe he is just unsure how much the others are juiced up
srsplato More than 1 year ago
Hello Andy, there is a fork with your name on it.
Mark Schwitau More than 1 year ago
What did you do this year?
Raoul Duke More than 1 year ago
Well for Andy's, for the sport's sake, and for all the fans, I hope Andy finds his form improve during this tour to where he can throw a few monkey wrenches into the plans of the top riders. A good result (considering the last while) and I think we may see a return to a man who can ride quite well. I find it odd when you look at Andy's palmares and Wiggin's road cycling palmares that Wiggins is somehow close to godhood (knighthood anyway) while Andy is totally slagged. Andy has won the TdF in 2010, has the young rider classification for three years, has won three stages, was second place in 2009 (ahead of Wiggins) won the Tour de Suisse in 2011, L-B-L in 2009, 2nd in 2009 La Flèche Wallonne, 2011 - 3rd in L-B-L, mountain jersey in the Tour de Suisse and another second in the TdF, young rider jersey in the Giro and 2nd overall in 2007....I could go on and on. On the road Andy has a far better record than Wiggins and everyone here is crapping on him.
vrusimov More than 1 year ago
You won't hear Schelck going on about 2010 because in his mind he really did not win it, and I am sure he would prefer not to win that way, especially if he had some "internal" assistance himself. Wiggins has knighthood and the facade of cleanliness on his side.
Raoul Duke More than 1 year ago
yes, he says himself he is not the winner in 2010, but it is his name on the books so it's a forked up situation. Hopefully he finds his legs and can fight for one.
the vagabond More than 1 year ago
He says he has to pay attention to the little things NOW, but NOW is when he is putting on an extra 12 pounds in the off-season compared to five years ago? Don't watts and weight both matter on a climb? Schleck is going to be royally embarrassed by how outclassed he is on the climbs this year, just like he has on every race he's done for the last 22 months, beginning with the Pro Cycling Tour in August of 2011. How anybody can cite results from 2 or more years ago in cycling as a justification for someone's possibilities today is beyond me.
Raoul Duke More than 1 year ago
Well I guess if you think after having fractured a pelvis (the sacrum to be precise) and being all of 28 puts you over the hill for a comeback, that is pretty sad
vrusimov More than 1 year ago
Lemond was done at 29... his last tour win. But we have more of clue why in hindsight.
Raoul Duke More than 1 year ago
your comment made me think of the fate of many of the TdF winners, LeMond shot mid-career, Pantani suicide, Armstrong testicular cancer, Fignon dead at 50 (RIP)....there are more stories, seems more than just statistical average
vrusimov More than 1 year ago
What is pretty sad is what has happened with his brother, and it casts suspicion on Andy whether he likes it or not, they are too close.
Raoul Duke More than 1 year ago
yes, it seems without his brother and that one trainer whose name escapes me at the moment...Kim? he cannot seem to function at his best..odd.
rastymick More than 1 year ago
He is an amazing talent and I'm sure he will be back - maybe not this year, but very likely next year. Just hope no one crashes on the Alpe d'Huez descent...
Raoul Duke More than 1 year ago
agreed, I kind of doubt this year, but I hope it can end positively for Andy, for his sake if no one else's
kdayfranceusa More than 1 year ago
I don't care what people say about Andy Schleck. He's a great rider and I great person and I wish him all the success possible this summer and beyond. None of us fully understand what our bodies are doing and why sometimes it takes longer to heal than we think. Seems like a lot of people are trying to read so much into a recovery from a very complex and difficult injury to me. Ride on Andy Schleck!
Raoul Duke More than 1 year ago