President of Luxembourg federation latest to voice concerns over Andy Schleck

Jean Regenwetter says he's worried about rider's physical condition, but says there's still time to rescue 2013 season

by Simon_MacMichael   February 22, 2013  

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

The president of the Luxembourg cycling federation, the FSCL, has said he is seriously worried about Andy Schleck’s condition, echoing concerns recently voiced by the 27-year-old’s manager at RadioShack-Leopard, Luca Guercilena.

Schleck, who has not completed a stage race since April last year, pulled out of last week’s Tour du Haut Var and is currently training on Mallorca as he aims to get back to full fitness ahead of the Ardennes Classics in two months’ time.

However, FSCL president Jean Regenwetter told Wort.lu that he had doubts about the rider’s ability to return to top form.

"At the moment it isn’t looking good,” he said. “The evidence is that Andy has not worked or trained enough during the winter.

“Andy has let his training slip away from him over the past two years. Unless he gets his act together quickly, he will have to write off the 2013 season.”

While Regenwetter acknowledged Schleck’s innate abilities, he said that alone was not enough to succeed.

“Andy has a powerful engine, but it needs to be used and tested to its limits. If a top athlete’s muscles don’t get used, they fall asleep,” he explained.

Schleck has struggled to return to full fitness ever since fracturing his sacrum in a crash during the Critérium du Dauphiné last June, an injury that kept him out of the Tour de France.

In his first race back, the Tour of Beijing at the end of last season, Schleck abandoned after struggling on climbs.

Regenwetter held out some hope however that Schleck can still turn things around.

“It’s not too late, there is time for Andy to get his former strength back ahead of the Tour de France, and he’s someone who can suddenly turn the switch on when his big goal for the season approaches.”

He cautioned though that the men who are likely to be his chief rivals in France this summer had already shown that they were in better shape.

“Contador, Froome and Rodriguez have already demonstrated they are in their normal form,” he reflected. “Andy is lagging behind, and that is never a good sign.

Earlier this month, after Schleck abandoned the Tour Méditerranéen citing the respiratory problems that would also keep him out of the Tour du Haut Var, team manager Guercilana had raised questions about Schleck’s mental preparation.

The rider’s state of mind won’t have been helped at the one-year ban handed down to his brother Fränk who tested positive for a banned diuretic during last year’s Tour de France, but Regenwetter insisted that Schleck’s problems ran deeper.

"His brother’s ban certainly hasn’t helped Andy. To be honest, Andy needed to train even before the verdict was announced. But there’s always hope.  Andy can turn things around," he concluded.

7 user comments

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Friday anagram: TWE NKLETAB

The natural ability of Contador, the mindset of a Labradoodle.

It's such as shame as I think he is genuinely still the only one who can match Contador when both men are on form. I imagine Steve Peters at Sky would love to get inside Andy's head right now.

arrieredupeleton

posted by arrieredupeleton [561 posts]
22nd February 2013 - 13:06

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Playing this out in the press is certainly not going to help. It baffles me that a team manager openly discusses a rider's alleged 'mental issues'. Surely management should be focussing on 'managing' Andy to be at his best, something they are clearly not achieving. If he does not play ball then he should move on and look for another job.

posted by Metjas [288 posts]
22nd February 2013 - 13:30

5 Likes

Huge talent diluted by his pussy-cat mentality on and off the bike. Shame really.

cavasta's picture

posted by cavasta [206 posts]
22nd February 2013 - 14:17

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I get the impression he very reluctantly moved to RadioShack-Leopard after his involvement in creating Leopard-Trek. It seems no better a relationship now Bruyneel has stepped into the shadows. However, to most people the desire to find a new team for next year would spur then on to perform and get noticed...

arrieredupeleton

posted by arrieredupeleton [561 posts]
22nd February 2013 - 14:53

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I suspect a lot of the team talk is to avoid them being blamed for a second year for Andy's lack of interest in cycling. I don't know whether the issue is he's scared to be hurt again or the drama with the team, his injury and his brother has sapped his interest in the sport but he needs something to shake him out of his malaise.

I live in Luxembourg and even the locals are starting to look towards Bob Jungels as their next hope for national cycling success.

posted by atlaz [154 posts]
22nd February 2013 - 17:51

4 Likes

Could it be that Andy's grand plan (and that of his PR team) is to spend the next 4 months sandbagging at races and disseminating false rumours of his demise (while excelling at training camps), so that he can pull a fast one as soon as the Tour hits the alps?

posted by chokofingrz [287 posts]
22nd February 2013 - 18:02

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chokofingrz wrote:
Could it be that Andy's grand plan (and that of his PR team) is to spend the next 4 months sandbagging at races and disseminating false rumours of his demise (while excelling at training camps), so that he can pull a fast one as soon as the Tour hits the alps?

In a word, no.

He would need to be racing full races partly in order to get him to top condition and partly in order to get his head back in the game. Sandbagging for half a season would be nobody's plan for that.

Agree with the comments above that it's weird that the team are complaining about it in public. Maybe they think it's a way to manage it. Either way, it's clearly not too late to turn it round, but it would need a very different mindset now from that displayed in the last few months - the question isn't whether there's enough time to train, but whether there's enough time to deal with the motivational issues...

For what it's worth, I hope he does get it back on track - he can be a very exciting rider (when on form and not waiting for his brother) and it would be nice to add another contender into the mix in the big races!

posted by step-hent [683 posts]
22nd February 2013 - 18:27

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