Andersen can't explain Schleck's performance problems

Andy Schleck can't blame his poor form on his knee problem, said sporting director Kim Andersen. But the Dane doesn't have any explanation for the RadioShack-Nissan rider's problems this year, and says he can only “assume” that Schleck will be in form for the Tour de France.

Earlier this week Schleck disclosed that he had been treated for knee problems last month. He was in a clinic for three days and lost a total of one week's training, so “it is not surprising” that he is not doing so well in the Criterium du Dauphine, he told De Telegraaf.

Andersen found that to be a bit exaggerated. “It only lasted two or three days. It was nothing special and they didn't find anything,” he told “I don't think it especially hurt his form, but every training day you miss puts you back.”

He confirmed that Schleck “does not seem to be in super shape,” but has no explanation as to why, as he has “had a different programme to follow” rather than being with Schleck.

Andersen's answers were unexpectedly curt, considering that he and Schleck are said to have a very close relationship. What does he think the rider is missing? “I have no comment.”

Will the 2010 Tour winner be ready for this year's race? “I can't tell you. But he says himself that he will be so we must assume so.” Or are there reasons to worry? “I don't know.”

Andersen will be guiding the RadioShack-Nissan squads at the Tour of Poland and Tour de Suisse but not the Tour de France. Johan Bruyneel will direct the team in France, but has said he will keep in close contact with Andersen during the race. This was news to Andersen.

Schleck goes into Thursday's time trial at the Dauphine in 118th position, 5:21 behind leader Bradley Wiggins (Sky). Schleck lost over three minutes on the first stage and nearly two on the second stage, but finished in the same time as the winner on the third stage.

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