Earliest-ever season start for Schleck in 2013, Tour Down Under beckons
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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Earliest-ever season start for Schleck in 2013, Tour Down Under beckons

by Shane Stokes at 8:57 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
2010 Tour winner changes programme to get career back on track

Andy SchleckConscious that he only raced 28 days in 2012 and had his quietest season since turning professional, and also that he will be short of form as a result, Andy Schleck has taken the decision to begin his season earlier than ever in 2013.

Schleck will, according to L’Equipe, get things underway in the Santos Tour Down Under in Australia, beginning January 22nd.

That contrasts with the season starts he has had in recent years: in 2010, he got things underway on March 10th in Tirreno-Adriatico, while he rode Challenge Mallorca events in the two years since then (Trofeo Cala Millor, February 7th 2011 and Trofeo Palma de Mallorca, February 5th of this year).

Although Schleck has faded from the limelight somewhat due to his disappointing season, he will still be a big draw for the Santos Tour Down Under, particularly with his Tour de France record. He finished second, first and second between 2009 and 2011, securing his victory after Alberto Contador was disqualified.

Schleck had intended disputing the 2012 Tour but those plans went up in smoke when he crashed during the Critérium du Dauphiné time trial and fractured his pelvis.

He had still hoped to make the Tour but his recovery was slower than expected and he was forced to miss that, the Olympic road race, the Vuelta a España and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.

He eventually returned to competition in the Binche-Tournai-Binche Memorial Frank Vandenbroucke on October 2nd, but did not finish. He went on to ride the Tour of Beijing in China, completing four stages before pulling out of the fifth.

He said then that he would continue to train right through the winter, stating that there was no need to take a post-season break as he had not raced in several months.

This should in theory give him a boost in terms of building his form. The RadioShack Nissan rider will hope to ride respectively in Australia, then continue to build his condition in the months which follow.


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