Dancing on the grave of Andy Schleck...
He may have won the 2010 Tour de France two weeks ago, but is Andy the man to win this years race?
After dismissing him as a contender for this years Tour de France here, I am starting to feel a pang of guilt when it comes to Andy...
As I write this the full impact of his Dauphine flop is getting more and more journalists more and more feverish.
Not content with being dropped on a third cat climb on day 2 he is now over 9 minutes adrift of the leading time in the time trial... that is before any of the real favourites get to the finish.
But is it right that celebrate the demise of this once promising grand tour contender? What has gone wrong to cause this collapse in form and morale?
There are a number of factors I see in play here, none of them will be new to you or radical in any way. But combined they paint the picture of a man in turmoil and I would suggest if he can come back and win the Tour now it will rival Greg LeMonds comeback in 1989.
- Too much too young. That Giro best young riders jersey coupled with the emergence of his brother (and we will come on to him in a second) put him under pressure to start with. Think back a few years before to Damiano Cunego to see what I mean.
- Sibling comfort. Far from being rivals and pushing each other to greater heights, Andy and Frank seem content to try and get each other to win often leaving others to nip past and take the plaudits. I would hate to follow them into a restaurant as they would be stood at the door saying "after you" "no after you" "no I insist".
- Johan's influence. Lance Armstrong worked well with Johan Bruyneel and his iron fisted approach. Old Skool I think they call it. Andy on the other hand came from the innovative school of management led by Bjarne Riis and seemed to flourish under this new age leadership. Johan not taking Kim Andersen to the Tour as a DS, knowing that he was the Shlecks preferred choice in the team car shows who is boss in this team. I think Andy may have spat his dummy out.
So what next for the man we all seem to love to hate?
Will he finish the Dauphine? I think he has to now or his place on the start line in Liege might not be secured.
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