Nygaard: Andy Schleck on course to peak for Tour de France

Leopard Trek manager Brian Nygaard is confident Andy Schleck will be at his best in time for the mountain stages at the Tour de France, in spite of his sporadic performances at the Tour de Suisse.

“I’m very, very pleased,” Nygaard told Cyclingnews of Schleck’s display in Switzerland. “The numbers I saw for Andy were good.”

Although Schleck ultimately won the green jersey of best climber thanks to his part in a lengthy breakaway on stage 7, he lost over 14 minutes on the summit finish at Triesenberg/Malbun. Nygaard was adamant that there was no cause for concern and insisted that Schleck had been perhaps the strongest climber in Switzerland.

“He had a bad day, he didn’t eat properly and once he got dropped he lost a lot of time, but then in the rest of the race he was good,” Nygaard insisted. “He won the climbers’ jersey for a reason, because he was probably the strongest guy on the climbs.”

Nygaard did acknowledge that both Andy and Fränk Schleck ended the Swiss race with sub-par showings in the concluding time trial. However, with the Tour’s sole individual time trial not featuring until the penultimate day in Grenoble, he believes his charges still have plenty of time to build on their form.

“In the time trial, there’s definitely room for improvement,” he admitted. “But I think there is one major time trial in the Tour and there are still many, many weeks ahead.

“From the way I saw Andy ride in the mountains, I feel he is perfectly timed for peaking on the climbs at the Tour.”

The Schleck brothers travelled directly from Switzerland to the Pyrenees for a brief spell of reconnaissance, but have returned to Luxembourg ahead of the national championships.

“They just got back from the Pyrenees,” Nygaard said. “They went to the Pyrenees for a very hard block of training and reconnaissance.”

Le Quotidien reported that the Schlecks would forgo Thursday’s time trial championships, but Nygaard said that a final decision on their participation would be made on Wednesday. He also denied rumours that they would miss out on the national championships entirely and said that they would line up in the road race at the weekend.

“I think a decision will be made today regarding the time trial, so don’t take that as a final decision but for sure they will ride the national championships, there is absolutely no doubt,” Nygaard said.

Leopard Trek Tour team to be announced next week

Nygaard was enthusiastic about the performance of the Leopard Trek team at large in Switzerland, singling out Maxime Monfort and Linus Gerdemann for particular praise.

“Overall, I’m extremely happy with what I saw from the remainder of the team,” he said. “Monfort is in absolutely perfect shape for the Tour, Linus is going really great, and it’s looking really good. Fabian [Cancellara] is really nailing it on the time trials.”

Nygaard would not divulge the precise composition of Leopard Trek’s Tour de France team, saying that the line-up will be announced next week.

However, Maxime Monfort told L’Équipe on Tuesday that the “the team in Switzerland is the Tour team,” which would suggesting that there is only one berth still to be decided upon.

Leopard Trek’s eight riders at the Tour de Suisse were Fränk Schleck, Andy Schleck, Fabian Cancellara, Jakob Fuglsang, Linus Gerdemann, Maxime Monfort, Stuart O’Grady and Jens Voigt.

The Leopard Trek team continues to operate without a title sponsor, but Nygaard refused to be drawn on whether the Luxembourg-based outfit was actively seeking sponsorship.

"If we were announcing a sponsor on Tuesday, do you honestly think I would tell you today?" he said.




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