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Team also said to be concerned over work ethic and attittude towards training as Schleck fails to complete another race

Andy Schleck’s manager at RadioShack-Leopard, Luca Guercilena, has expressed concern about the Luxembourg cyclist’s state of mind after the 27-year-old pulled out of the Tour Méditerranéen citing respiratory problems. The team is also said to be concerned about his work ethic and attitude towards training.

"There's more to it than that respiratory problems,” said Guercilena, who was promoted to his current role after Johan Bruyneel was sacked last autumn following the United States Anti-Doping Agency's publication of its Reasoned Decision in the Lance Armstrong case.

“Andy’s problems are bigger. The mental side is also important for a cyclist,” added the Italian, who was speaking to Belgian TV channel Sporza.

Besides Schelck's battle with injury and fitness, his brother Fränk’s one-year doping ban handed down last week won’t have helped Andy’s state of mind at all from a personal point of view, and at the same time it puts additional pressure on him to recover his form and fitness in the coming months so he can lead the team in the Tour de France.

The Tour Méditerranéen is the third race that Schleck has started but failed to finish in what is turning out to be a stuttering comeback from the fracture of the sacrum that he suffered during last June’s Critérium du Dauphiné, which kept him out of the Tour de France.

In September, Schleck, runner-up in the Tour de France each year from 2009 to 2011 and awarded the 2010 win after Alberto Contador’s disqualification, started his return to the sport in October's Tour of Beijing.

However, he found himself in the unfamiliar situation of lanterne rouge after struggling on climbs that wouldn’t have taxed him in the slightest had he been fully fit, and he abandoned the race.

Last month, in the Santos Tour Down Under, Schleck was largely anonymous - he compared the experience of riding way back in the bunch as making him feel like a neo-pro again - and he packed in the race due to a puncture on the very last stage.

It’s around ten months since he last finished a stage race, last year’s Circuit de la Sarthe, and his last one-day race was Liège-Bastogne-Liège, a race he’s always placed highly in during the past – indeed, he won it in 2009 – but in which he finished 50th in last April.

Last October, as Fränk awaited his disciplinary hearing and Andy struggled with his return from injury, their father Johny, himself an ex-pro, urged them both to give up cycling, saying, “This is no life!”

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

24 comments

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Bedfordshire Clanger [344 posts] 3 years ago
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It's a lot harder without the dope isn't it?

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koko56 [330 posts] 3 years ago
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Bedfordshire Clanger - do the right thing and die in a fire.

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Thor Beverley [49 posts] 3 years ago
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You're out of order koko56.

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drheaton [3318 posts] 3 years ago
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I think its obvious that Andy's head isn't in the right place at the minute and that needs fixing before anything else. There's no reason for him to turn up to these races unless he's going to put the required effort in.

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koko56 [330 posts] 3 years ago
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Not as much as the other guy is.  3

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Leviathan [2133 posts] 3 years ago
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Whoa, simmer down guys.

I am sure Andy will be back in form and still testing clean as ever in due course. If I had broken my mahugawatcha I would be feeling under form for a couple of years.

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Flabby [4 posts] 3 years ago
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that's a despicable comment Koko56

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robdaykin (not verified) [368 posts] 3 years ago
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Bedfordshire Clanger wrote:

It's a lot harder without the dope isn't it?

that's no way to talk about Frank.  3

Or are you suggesting he needs some help from Lance's support team in Radioshack (if any of them are left). Speaking of which, now Bruyhneel is gone are there any of Lance's cronies left in that team? If so, should there be a clean sweep?

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ubercurmudgeon [169 posts] 3 years ago
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I'm not sure blabbing about his supposedly weak mental state to Belgian TV is the best method his team manager could have employed to bolster said mental state. He may have personal, familial and (possibly) clean-riding problems, but he has also been cursed with some piss-poor management in his career.

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monty dog [459 posts] 3 years ago
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If anyone thinks the Schlecks are clean is living in cloud cuckoo land - with Frank's "training plans" from Fuentes, riding with CSC and RS and finally the positive test

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Welsh boy [300 posts] 3 years ago
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I agree with Bedfordshire clanger, Bertie caught out, Frank banned, Johan Bruyneel sacked and Andy's form takes a nose dive. Hmm, suspicious if nothing else.

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Dr. Ko [192 posts] 3 years ago
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Let me see, Radio Schleck still has the golden oldies of Horner, Klöden and Jensie!

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Colin Peyresourde [1749 posts] 3 years ago
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Although I would be a fool not to think that Andy was untouched by Frank's drug taking, I like the lad. It's pretty sad to hear this happen to him. But I guess cycling has been a big part of his family life. For his dad to come out and say 'this is no life' after his brother was caught cheating and him to lose the chance to win the Tour de France (I could well understand if Andy believed he would have won the 2012 TdF) I can see them being big psychological blows, as well as missing his sibling and the struggle back from injury (strange injury too).

I think Andy may not have enough of his family and their support around anymore. I hope that he is able to turn it around. I liked his youthful naivety.

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festival [107 posts] 3 years ago
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Koko56, Grow up!

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The Rumpo Kid [589 posts] 3 years ago
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Did Andy get that kebab from Tesco's?

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festival [107 posts] 3 years ago
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No smoke without fire!

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koko56 [330 posts] 3 years ago
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I just find it really sad that people pretend to know what is going on when they really don't. Callous does not even approach it, hence my "original" comment. I feel it aptly underlines my view on such callousness.

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cidermart [489 posts] 3 years ago
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The Rumpo Kid wrote:

Did Andy get that kebab from Tesco's?

Ha ha that made me proper chuckle  4 4

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Simon E [2774 posts] 3 years ago
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As well as the physical damage and loss of condition after his injury, we really have no idea of the effects of the stress of the six months since Frank's positive test, regardless of exactly what happened. I am not yet convinced that they are hardcore dopers.

Last October their father, a former pro himself, publicly advised them both to quit.

Not sure whether Guercilena going public now is a misjudged step or perhaps he knows stuff we don't. Is Andy's heart still in it?

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Simon_MacMichael [2457 posts] 3 years ago
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The Rumpo Kid wrote:

Did Andy get that kebab from Tesco's?

Dog just looked at me startled when I burst out laughing at that. I won't be leaving her anywhere near a Findus factory in the near future, either... Schnauzer schnitzel...

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Bedfordshire Clanger [344 posts] 3 years ago
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Aaaaaargh! The flames! The flames!

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withnails [78 posts] 3 years ago
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You're a good sport Bedfordshire, not rising to the repugnant comment from koko56

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koko56 [330 posts] 3 years ago
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oh the pain you cause me  5

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andyspaceman [246 posts] 3 years ago
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Lanterne rouge you say? Someone just got a spot in my Oman fantasy team!!