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?

by jimmythecuckoo   June 7, 2012  

Andy Schleck at the 2011 Tour de France Presentation © Simon MacMichael

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.

 

 

12 user comments

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Inrng has a very good article on Andy Schleck's terrible pre-tour form:

http://inrng.com/2012/06/andy-schleck-dauphine-suisse-comparison/

posted by Paul J [553 posts]
7th June 2012 - 14:47

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That Inrng piece sets it out nicely. Andy Schleck's 2012 season isn't dead yet - writing him off now is extremely dangerous for the other contenders. But maybe that's exactly what Bruyneel wants them to do...

posted by step-hent [646 posts]
7th June 2012 - 15:26

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No sympathy for this tool. He has cost me £220 at the bookies with his pathetic antics trying to push his brother uphill. Get a bag and do some couriering.

posted by Sanderville [199 posts]
7th June 2012 - 16:05

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£220 on Andy Schleck? Surprise

posted by step-hent [646 posts]
7th June 2012 - 16:18

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Not all in one go - which makes me even more of a mug. Angry

posted by Sanderville [199 posts]
7th June 2012 - 16:24

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That is an interesting piece (as always) from Inrng, Paul J, but there is a big difference between coming in with the main group a couple of minutes after a pair of breakaway riders (eg Suisse last year) and rolling in with a trailing group well behind the one containing the big names (as has happened more than once this week).

Whatever the explanation, his head is definitely not in the right place right now, and we're three weeks away from the Tour starting. There's a big doubt over his fitness too, and whatever is going on between the Schlecks and Bruyneel won't help.

I'll be interested to see what happens in the mountains over the next three days, but as things stand at the moment, it's not looking good for him for the Tour.

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [7893 posts]
7th June 2012 - 16:44

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I don't think Andy can win the TdF, he'd need three of the best TTs of his life (remember he only lost 38 seconds to Contador on the last TT in 2010) and to put some time into Evans and Wiggins in the mountains. Personally I don't think he'll have enough to win but I could see a podium for him, on his day he can TT well enough to keep up with the likes of Nibali and as one of the few in the peloton who can go uphill at real speed and accelerate away from those who are just very good climbers he can gain time on his rivals.

Hopefully, if his head is right at the start of the TdF, he should make this one of the best ever. He and the other climbers need to attack Wiggins and Evans early and often, it should be an explosive few weeks.

posted by drheaton [3429 posts]
7th June 2012 - 21:17

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Based on his season so far, if he's attacking the climbs come the tour then I would start to be, ahem, suspicious.

If I could have, say, 6 bikes, would it stop me drooling over others that I don't have?

posted by notfastenough [2929 posts]
8th June 2012 - 19:39

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You spent £220 on betting on one rider?

Wow! If I'd known you were so keen to throw money away I'd have sent you a wish list! Mind you, there's still time, my birthday is not until after the TdF
Wink

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posted by Simon E [1902 posts]
11th June 2012 - 15:35

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notfastenough wrote:
Based on his season so far, if he's attacking the climbs come the tour then I would start to be, ahem, suspicious.

I'd steak my dinner money on Schleck doing something, even if it's just a stage win or a couple of big attacks. Even out of form he's still a great climber and knowing he'll lose upwards of 5 or even 10 minutes during the three TTs he, and the likes of Gadret, will have to try and put some time into Wiggins and Evans on the hills.

Nibali's an odd one, not as good a climber as Schleck (in form), not as good as Sammy Sanchez downhill, not as good as Wiggins against the clock. He's a jack of all trades and I reckon he'll get a top 10, maybe top 5, but not podium.

posted by drheaton [3429 posts]
11th June 2012 - 16:49

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@jimmythecuckoo - Andy Schleck is 'the man we all love to hate'? That's a bit strong, isn't it? I think he's the man we saw as being a future 'great' of the cycling world. He's currently wildly off-form and is therefore a huge disappointment. But to hate him? That seems harsh. Pity him for having JB as a mentor, perhaps.

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posted by Low Speed Wobble [137 posts]
12th June 2012 - 12:47

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Broken vertebra from last week's fall has put him out of the TdF anyway. Dancing around his hospital bed now?

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posted by Low Speed Wobble [137 posts]
13th June 2012 - 9:53

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