RadioShack-Leopard owner puts Andy Schleck in last chance saloon after claimed drinking binge

French MP alleged on Facebook that he saw rider in extremely drunk state in airport hotel in Munich earlier this week

by Simon_MacMichael   March 15, 2013  

Andy Schleck at 2013 TDU (Santos Tour Down Under, Regallo)

RadioShack-Leopard rider Andy Schleck has been told by team owner Flavio Becca to get his act together following claims made by a French MP that he had spotted the 27-year-old in an extremely inebriated state at a hotel at Munich airport earlier this week. The team’s directeur sportif Kim Andersen has leapt to Schleck’s defence, strongly refuting the allegation.

The MP, Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’, who lives in Germany and is one of 11 members of France’s National Assembly elected by French citizens living abroad, wrote on his Facebook page of having spotted Schleck  “completely drunk” at an airport hotel in Munich, where the rider would have been changing planes on his way home to Luxembourg from Tirreno-Adriatico. He added that Schleck was unable to stand up.

Schleck, who has completed just one race since he suffered a fractured sacrum during the Critérium du Dauphiné in June last year, had abandoned Tirreno-Adriatico on Monday, early on in what proved to be a brutal Stage 6.

In recent weeks, concerns have been expressed about his fitness, attitude towards training and mental state by RadioShack-Leopard team manager Luca Guercilena, who replaced Johan Bruyneel last year.

Besides struggling to return to anything approaching peak physical condition following that enforced absence from the sport last year, he is also likely to have been affected by the one-year ban handed to his elder brother Fränk who tested positive for a diuretic during last year's Tour de France.

According to today's print edition of Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport, Becca, who has bankrolled the team since it was founded a little over three years ago as a Luxembourg-based outfit built around Andy and Fränk, has issued the younger Schleck brother with an ultimatum.

“I’m really not happy with what I’ve heard,” said the Italian-born businessman, whose parents moved to Luxembourg when he was a child.

“I’ve already told Andy more than once that I am not happy with his behaviour. I don’t consider that he is part of a team. Now I hope he has the courage to make an honest declaration, to clarify things well, and to start to become a serious athlete in pursuit of success.”

Those are strong words, but the team’s directeur sportif Kim Andersen, who is close to Schleck having previously worked with him at Saxo Bank, has disputed Le Borgn’s version of events, telling the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet that the story is untrue.

While confirming that Schleck was at the hotel in question, Andersen insisted that according to the rider, the way in which he is alleged to have behaved “is simply not true,” and that he had “no reason to doubt” him.

“I'm tired of the fact that such a ridiculous story can run around the world,” he added.

It’s not the first time that Schleck has found himself in the spotlight as a result of allegations of drinking.

During the 2009 Vuelta, he and then Saxo Bank team mate Stuart O’Grady were thrown off the race by team manager Bjarne Riis, who had caught them returning to the team hotel after enjoying a beer or two against team orders – just how late it was, and just how many beers they had downed, has always been a matter of dispute.

The pair’s breaking of team orders was possibly due to their being demob-happy at the prospect of leaving Riis’s notoriously tightly run ship – within weeks, O’Grady would be confirmed as following the Schleck brothers to their new team, then known as the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project.

20 user comments

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Sadly he seems to have misunderstood the common criticism that he needs to get better at going downhill.

posted by Sadly Biggins [264 posts]
15th March 2013 - 11:06

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[applause]

posted by andyp [860 posts]
15th March 2013 - 12:15

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Applause Haha, brilliant Sadly

Argon18 E-112 - Scott Spark 910 - Boardman Team Carbon - Planet X XLS

posted by colinth [184 posts]
15th March 2013 - 12:28

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It's quite a shame, if his head was in the right place I reckon he'd be right at the top. I also reckon a stint at sky would help him with that, their mental health and attitude arrangements seem very good.

posted by pdows47 [103 posts]
15th March 2013 - 12:31

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pdows47 wrote:
It's quite a shame, if his head was in the right place I reckon he'd be right at the top. I also reckon a stint at sky would help him with that, their mental health and attitude arrangements seem very good.

Why would they even consider him - Sky are a successful team with good training and support routines, and a team in every sense. No place for a loose cannon who is poorly disciplined, can't descend, and seems unable to accept team orders and discipline.
I think a redundancy may be imminent.

Doc

posted by doc [167 posts]
15th March 2013 - 12:39

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A decent team would have him with counsellors not threatening him. I've seen a lot of criticism of AS this last 12-18 months but to me it's been obvious he has mental health issues. Probably made worse by Frank's +'ve tests and ban and his femur injury. As a sufferer of chronic depression I know the guy needs support. Sadly it doesn't look like he get it in this team. And again sadly I can see this being the end of births cycling careers, which have never fulfilled their promise.

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posted by bikeandy61 [390 posts]
15th March 2013 - 12:40

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'Why would they even consider him - Sky are a successful team with good training and support routines, and a team in every sense.'

...and a zero-tolerance policy too. No chance Andy.

posted by andyp [860 posts]
15th March 2013 - 12:44

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I suspect the mp is after a bit of publicity.

posted by northstar [1100 posts]
15th March 2013 - 12:54

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I agree that Andy's team is failing him. I liked the detail that he was wearing a jacket from the old Leopard-Trek team -- hanging on to memories of happier times, perhaps.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1339 posts]
15th March 2013 - 13:07

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Sadly Biggins wrote:
Sadly he seems to have misunderstood the common criticism that he needs to get better at going downhill.

Or maybe he was working on his Wine Trialling abilities.

posted by chokofingrz [284 posts]
15th March 2013 - 13:10

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I agree that the issue is more down to his mental state although in his autobiography Andy Millar describes a sleep drug cyclists used and but when combined with Alcohol puts you in a right state, it could be a similar combo Schleck is doing.

posted by kitkat [202 posts]
15th March 2013 - 14:23

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When Leopard Trek was set up it was Schleck's team and he was at the top of his form, he went head to head with Evans and lost a fair fight in an epic chasedown. The merger with Radioshack has brought some retroactive association that are not Andy's fault. No matter how many people believe in guilt by association you know how the law works and drug references are just a cheap shot. The time has come for him to split from his brother and move to a new team as his team are no longer supporting him. If my arse had broken in two *exaggeration* I would be off form for years/forever.

However, Sky is full, it already has two team leaders and plenty of developing riders. I can see why people are saying this as the Sky ethos would give him focus, but I think right now it would just chew him up and spit him out.

If that means moving to a slightly weaker Belgian team for example that would just be a risk worth taking and accepting that he might not be a GC contender again. The fact is that he was never a complete allrounder anyway.

So what if he was pissed at an airport, Wiggo was pissed live on national television. Remember these things are not scene from a film, you can't skip to the end and assume it is a tragic rise and fall story.


Suffering from Low Cadence.

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posted by bikeboy76 [1254 posts]
15th March 2013 - 15:22

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He's too big headed. Literally.

posted by RichmondTTer [8 posts]
15th March 2013 - 15:25

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Joking apart, I agree with others that it's a shame. He is (was?) one of the best at climbing and he could work on his descending and TT weaknesses if he had the desire, although he'll obviously never be a Nibali or a Wiggins in those two departments. He just seems to have lost it mentally - he's (presumably) comfortably off now, Frank's ban seems to have hit him hard, he's had a serious injury and who knows what effect Wouter Weylandt's death had on him too. I don't think that Becca telling him to pull himself together will have much effect, unfortunately.

posted by Sadly Biggins [264 posts]
15th March 2013 - 15:36

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I'm just reading 'The Death of Marco Pantani'; are there any similarities here? Pantani seemed to have the world at his feet after 1998 but fell apart, stopped finishing races, drank / took drugs (performance enhancing and otherwise) and his career was soon over. Schleck always looked more stable and less emotional but could he go the same way?

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posted by Gav2000 [1 posts]
15th March 2013 - 15:51

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From lanterne rouge to vin rouge...

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posted by Doctor Fegg [134 posts]
15th March 2013 - 17:11

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Doctor Fegg wrote:
From lanterne rouge to vin rouge...

Laughing

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posted by lostinfrance [14 posts]
15th March 2013 - 18:25

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Schleck and contador will never be the riders they once were ,
Contador can no longer maintain the attacks on the climbs,
As seen in Oman and tirreno ,
Interesting how the first nearly clean tour was won by Evans , after years of finishing further down the field.
When Wiggo lost the tour in 2009 he was robbed of a podium by cheats
I think schleck needs a little more help than just an arm around him

posted by hozza666 [6 posts]
15th March 2013 - 20:34

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I also confess to getting rat arsed. There. It's out, now.

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posted by minnellium [79 posts]
16th March 2013 - 0:42

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hozza666 wrote:

Interesting how the first nearly clean tour was won by Evans , after years of finishing further down the field.

I think schleck needs a little more help than just an arm around him


Anyone that thinks Evans is a 'clean' rider is surely deluding themselves.
1.Check the teams he rode for & there reputation (Mapei,Lotto)
2.Check out the (blood doped) riders he competed at a level with for years.
3.In his book he boasts that his hematocrit level never went over 44/46 (I can't actually remember exactly).
A clean rider would tell you what there hematocrit FELL to after 3 weeks racing... Nerd
Notice how nobody does that? because the majority have been 'topping up' for years... & then they are considered clean by many just because they don't go overboard like a Rico, Hamilton, Landis.
Boogerd spoke about this recently amongst many other half truths he told!

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posted by Paulo [110 posts]
16th March 2013 - 21:25

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