Schleck has to earn Tour de France place in Switzerland

Trek Factory Racing team manager Luca Guercilena says that Andy Schleck will not target the general classification at the upcoming Tour de France, but will focus on winning stages - provided he earns a place on the team during the Tour de Suisse.

Speaking to Velochrono, Guercilena said he had been expecting the 2010 Tour champion’s form to pick up during his home tour in Luxembourg at the start of this month. However, Schleck finished almost 15 minutes down on winner Matti Breschel in 50th place overall, suggesting his long-awaited return to the top rank of Tour contenders is not imminent.

"At the moment, he doesn’t have enough form to do a Grand Tour," said Guercilena. "This isn’t the situation we were hoping for at the start of the season but we have to deal with it. He still has the Tour of Switzerland where he can show he is competitive. That’s a real test."

Going into the third stage in Switzerland’s national tour, Schleck was lying in 44th place, 55 seconds down on race leader Tony Martin. His biggest tests with a view to gaining selection for Trek’s Tour team will come during the race’s final weekend. Saturday brings a summit finish at Verbier, where Schleck was the only rider to finish within a minute of Alberto Contador when the Tour de France finished there in 2009. Sunday offers another summit finale at Saas-Fee.

"If Andy does a good Tour of Switzerland and comes to the Tour de France, it will be more with the aim of targeting stages than contending for the overall," said Guercilena. "Guys like Froome and Contador are a long way ahead of him."

Schleck ended last year’s Tour in 20th place, but he and his team were expecting a big step up this season, especially as elder brother Fränk is now racing alongside him again. However, although he started the season in good physical shape – "he was in better condition than the year before," said Trek's director Alain Gallopin – his results have been poor. He didn’t finish Amstel Gold or the Ardennes Classics and that 50th place in Luxembourg was his best stage race result of the year.

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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).