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Schlecks put the brotherhood back together

Barry Ryan
January 11, 10:50,
January 11, 11:03
First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, January 11, 2014
Fränk and Andy Schleck at the 2014 Trek team launch

Fränk and Andy Schleck at the 2014 Trek team launch

  • Fränk and Andy Schleck at the 2014 Trek team launch
  • Andy and Frank Schleck celebrate after the 2011 Tour de France
  • Cadel Evans (BMC) with .Andy and Frank Schleck (Leopard Trek)

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Frank and Andy on their hopes and ambitions for 2014

Fränk Schleck (Trek Factory Racing) is confident that he will have few problems in readapting to life in the peloton when he returns to action at the Santos Tour Down Under next week, following a year and a half on the sidelines.

The Luxembourg rider has not raced since he tested positive for the diuretic Xipamide during the 2012 Tour de France.

“I cannot tell you today how I will be, but I think I will be alright in the peloton,” Schleck told reporters at the Trek Factory Racing presentation in Roubaix on Friday.

“Maybe it’s going to feel strange the first couple of days but I’m confident I’m going to feel ok. It’s not like I’m a useless chicken in the peloton or on the bike. By that I mean it’s not like I’m useless at handling the bike.”

Schleck flew to Adelaide on Saturday ahead of the Tour Down Under, which gets underway on January 19. It marks his first appearance in the Australian race and his earliest start to the racing season since he lined up at the Tour de San Luis six years ago during his time at CSC. However the 33-year-old said that he was keen to start his 2014 campaign as soon as possible.

“I love riding my bike. I love cycling,” he said. “I kept training, I’m not done yet. As soon as we get out on the road, I want to show that I’m not done yet.”

Schleck’s lay-off was lengthened by a further six months in the second half of 2013 when he was unable to agree terms with the Flavio Becca-owned RadioShack-Trek squad. He claimed, however, that his motivation did not wane thanks in part to the fact that he had been handed a one-year ban rather than the maximum two-year penalty.

“I kept motivated because we could establish that the UCI and WADA did not see it as a doping case so I was looking forward to this,” Schleck said. “I kept the motivation because I had a lot of support also from Trek to be in this team.”

After the novel start in the Antipodes, Schleck’s 2014 season will follow a familiar pattern, as he tackles the year in three distinct parts alongside his brother Andy. The Ardennes classics comprise their first major objective and the Tour de France will be the centre-piece of their season, while the world championships and Tour of Lombardy are also a significant afterthought. “But that’s a long way away yet,” he added.

Andy Schleck looks to the Tour

For his part, Andy Schleck welcomed the return of his older brother to his side. A combination of injury, suspension and former manager Johan Bruyneel’s policy of keeping the brothers on separate racing programmes means that they have barely raced together since the 2011 Tour de France and not at all since the 2012 edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

“Being with Fränk again, together doing the races before the Tour de France, feels good and it feels right. I believe we just have to go in fully motivated and then take it like it is,” Andy Schleck said.

In spite of the lengthy time trial to Périgueux on the penultimate day, Schleck acknowledged that the Tour de France route is broadly suited to his characteristics, although he was reticent to measure his chances against those of Chris Froome, Alberto Contador et al at this early juncture.

“It’s a good parcours and it suits us climbers pretty well. That includes Froome, but it also includes Contador, Rodriguez and many, many more,” he said.

“We don’t know now how strong the others are going to be in July and we also don’t know how strong we’re going to be in July, so I think it’s early to answer that question. You can ask it, but it’s early to answer it in a correct way, so I just give you a quite basic answer on that, I’m sorry.”

After struggling with injury and motivation through 2012 and early 2013, the younger of the Schleck brothers – now 28 – will hope that his 20th place finish at last year’s Tour signaled the beginning of a return to his former levels. Certainly, he seemed optimistic about his prospects when a Belgian television crew later asked him how it felt to be back.

“I can’t say I’m back until I’ve had a good result,” Schleck said, adding: “I feel pretty good and motivated. I think it finally falls in place again and we’ll see how it goes again.”


paultryan2002 8 months ago
So Frank just to confirm the UCI and WADA said it was not a doping case.........And you were banned for a year confused???????? so what were you banned for walking on the cracks in the pavement come on man up.....
realfan 8 months ago
boring !!
mischiefchowder 8 months ago
The court's verdict was that he did not deliberately take the substance to boost performance or mask other substances, but that the cyclist is responsible for the substances that are taken into the body, even unknowingly.
Cance > TheRest 8 months ago
"(...)By that I mean it’s not like I’m useless at handling the bike.” - If there's anything FSchleck is really bad at, its handling his bike lol. That said, I look forward to seeing him back in the game. His elegant climbing style has been missed!
DrBigRing 8 months ago
Amazing how much press these guys get compared to their results.
TheBean 8 months ago
Seems so. But, they are each coming into this season without major complications of suspensions and major injuries. This is the year for them to post results or fade into deeper mediocrity. For me, I doubt they'll be more than a footnote on this year's racing. But, they could emerge and surprise. Either way, I'm glad they're back racing together and will enjoy watching as the season unfolds.
rshimizu12 8 months ago
I am really expecting much from either of the Schleck's . Both Andy and Frank have never lived up to their expectations since the Leopard team merger. I think Trek would have been far better resigning Horner on performance contract. Horner probably could not win the TDF. But at least he has a won a grand tour.
sur la plaque 8 months ago
Andy has won the TdF...
Nicolaj221 8 months ago
He did not win.. He was not at the podium in Paris, he did not get the price pool, he did not get the jersey. On paper he've won Tour de France, but Andy himself says he doesn't see it as his victory.
PCM Geek 8 months ago
If you are saying that Andy "did not" win the TDF then you are in essence saying that Lance Armstrong did win the TDF 7 times. Andy won "on paper" and Armstrong DID NOT win "on paper". Its all the same, so he did win no matter what Andy says, he did win. Plus he sure as heck was on the podium, only in 2nd place. He received 2nd place money, points and I believe that once he was elevated in to 1st place the prize money, etc were shifted around and he was presented with a yellow jersey too. If you welcome and accept the fact that Lance Armstrong IS NOT and never was a TDF winner then you must welcome and accept the fact that Andy Schleck IS a TDF winner no matter how much you dislike him. If it's in the record books they it is reality. End of story. (I'm tired of hearing people say he didn't win the TDF.)
Tim Turnage 8 months ago
He didn't win the Tour, and you know it. He was introduced at ATOC as a "Tour de France champion", but even they didn't call him the winner. You sure seem to have a ton of residual Lance hatred. Let it go, brother. And good luck, Andy or Frank.
sbroaddus 8 months ago
it's splitting hairs, gentlemen... if Andy can be called a Tour champion, and indeed he is, then it would be very difficult to say he didn't "win" the Tour. he rode the race and he has the yellow jersey. of course, he has some pride too - as well he should - so he will demure and say he won't feel like a winner until he's standing on the top step on the Champs. Final verdict: it's a win, unconventional, yes, but a win nonetheless.
PCM Geek 8 months ago
LOL, You really are funny Tim Turnage. Seriously, were you making a joke with what you wrote above? On the contrary, I know he won the TDF because the record books say he did. Last time I checked a champion had to "win" something to be declared champion. So whats the difference? Winner, Champion, its all the same. As far as me "hating" Lance Armstrong or anybody. I don't hate him, I don't hate Andy, I don't hate you (because of your foolish comment), I DO NOT hate anybody so please DO NOT attribute the hate word to what I wrote above. In case you don't understand what I wrote above (because you really do not seem to understand). What I wrote is whats called an analogy. Thats when 2 different things are compared to make a point about something. Bro, my suggestion is to brush up on your understanding of the english language because writing what you wrote really makes you look foolish. Have a nice day. And all hail the former TDF WINNER and Champion of the TDF, Mr Andy Schleck! LOL Thank you for saying that Sbbroaddus... .
Nicolaj221 8 months ago
You can't put it up like that. In my book, you can't change the past. That is why Bjarne Riis got his victory back, because you just can't change the past. In my eyes Lance won 7 Tour de France, but the way he did it was just wrong. I remember Alberto on the top of the podium, not Andy. I saw Alberto with the jersey. You really just can't change history and the way things go.
sbroaddus 8 months ago
Lance won 7 Tours IN YOUR EYES. I do believe that, because who can change what YOU see? But the Tour is run by a governing body that crowns a winner for eternity, and like it or not, Lance cheated and LOST those Tours. Those are the rules of this game. He didn't lose them like most riders do, but he lost them nonetheless.
dsotherby 8 months ago
You're logic is entirely incorrect -- you need to use another 2nd place winner that was granted a title as an example, not a first place winner that was stripped of his title. Your example is applicable to Contador, not Schleck. Let's redo your example properly and see how we all feel: "If you are saying that Andy "did not" win the TDF then you are in essence saying that Oscar Pereiro "did not" win the 2006 TdF." Yes, I agree with this comment: Oscar Pereiro and Andy Schleck did not win the TdF. I'm not saying that I support the original champ, but I'm certainly not naive enough to support those who were handed the victory.
rshimizu12 8 months ago
It's true Andy has won 3 TDF stages, but that was 3 or 4 years ago. The problem is that Andy has not had any victories since then. Any needs to focus on smaller races like the Dauphine Libre or Tour of Romandy. As for this years TDF there Andy has no chance of winning.
PCM Geek 8 months ago
True, but nobody else really has a chance of winning either. Do they? So he might as well give it a shot. Who knows, a miracle could happen but if you don't try it never will have a chance.
rshimizu12 8 months ago
Trek needs to be more realistic what their goals are for the TDF. There is other teams like Quickstep that concentrate on stage sprint wins and generating publicity for their sponsor. This the type of wins Trek should aim for at least for now.
indurain666 8 months ago
Does this means that Andy is going to ignore Barcelona's tempting night life and actually help his brother at the next vuelta? seeing is believing...
70kmph 8 months ago
Bros are join at the hip
antmills 8 months ago
Has-beens ..... Never-was-ers! ....... Move along now. Nothing to see here!
Cance > TheRest 8 months ago
Why read the article and even spend some of ur, apperently, so precious time?? Seems illogical to me. Better spare your arrogance to another time
movingtarget 8 months ago
And how successful was the brotherhood ? All it did was just confuse them tactically which isn't one of their strengths anyway.