Andy Schleck (RadioShack-Leopard) has dismissed reports that he was drunk in a Munich hotel on the way home from Tirreno-Adriatico, saying he is training hard and optimistic about making a successful comeback despite his troubled start to the season.
Speaking to RTL television in Luxembourg, Schleck admitted that his return from an injury-hit 2012 season is as much a mental challenge as it is a physical one. In a further blow, French newspaper L'Equipe reported that RadioShack will end its sponsorship of the team this year.
"The Munich story is ridiculous. I forgot pretty fast about it and don't want to comment on it anymore," he said, referring to the Facebook posting by a French politician last week.
"I'm fine. The good weather has returned to Luxembourg, fortunately while I'm here. I'm training every day and I'm happy to be with my family again after such a long time."
Schleck revealed he has slept at home for just six nights since the beginning of the year, spending most of the last three months struggling at training camps and races. He rode the Tour Down Under in January and then spent time training and racing in Europe before last week's Tirreno-Adriatico race.
"Of course I hoped for more for the beginning of this season. After the horrible last year, with my fall, I thought I'd have a good winter training with my teammates in Spain and then it would work out. But it was different because my injury stopped me from working as hard as I would have hoped to."
"It wasn't only a physical challenge to be part of the peloton but also a mental one. You have to get re-accustomed to long races in the rain and fast sprints. But I'm working on it and I noticed that went better during the last race, Tirreno-Adriatico, except for the last stage, where I was exhausted."
Despite struggling to be competitive and even finishes race, Schleck is trying to stay optimistic about his goals and ambitions for the season.
"I'm optimistic, I'm working hard; harder than before. I believe that I can be a great cyclist once again," he said.
"I'll keep working and I know that the people who believe in me will keep believing in me. I hope it will work out better in the future. My goals are still the same: the classics with Liege and the Tour de France. I hope I can show a high level of form and we'll see how far that will take me."