Demol: Fear is a big problem for Andy Schleck
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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Demol: Fear is a big problem for Andy Schleck

by VeloNation Press at 8:06 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Injury, Tirreno-Adriatico
RadioShack Leopard directeur sportif suggests rider is being held back by thoughts of his crash

andy SchleckCurrently 138th overall, six minutes and 38 seconds behind the overall winner Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma Quick Step), Andy Schleck may be improving but he continues to have a tough time in the peloton.

The Luxembourg rider had a bad crash eight months ago and while the physical issues have eased over time, the mental scars remain.

His RadioShack Leopard directeur sportif Dirk Demol believes that it is the psychological element that represents the biggest hurdle to overcome. “Andy is not yet good enough,” he said, according to Het Nieuwsblad. “He had a serious fall in the Dauphiné with the time trial bike. I have been there [in that situation – ed.] with Gert Steegmans a few years ago. He was blown away in Paris-Nice, with bike and all, [lifted by the wind] at least ten to twenty centimetres above the ground. A terrible feeling for a rider.”

Steegmans took time to get over that, but has returned to be able to ride well. Demol states that Schleck is still being held back by this, and has lost time this week as a result.

“Andy still doesn't feel safe, even on a regular bike. In the team time trial, he was dropped on the descent. The speed went to 75, 80 kilometres per hour and all of a sudden he was uncertain.”

Given the severity of Schleck’s injury – he fractured his pelvis and had months of pain as a result – his nervousness is easy to understand. The dilemma is that he is a professional rider and he needs to get his courage back if he is to return to his previous high level.

Demol believes it’s possible, but cautions that it’ll take time. “He has to pass through it. It'll be fine. But he must overcome fear,” he said. “And we're going to help him. But here I don’t expect him to do it here, he is working towards Liege-Bastogne-Liege, that's seven weeks away. And for the Tour, he is our only rider who can do a top finish. We continue to support him 100 percent.”


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