Schleck: ‘My goals are still the same – the Classics with Liège and the Tour de France’
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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Schleck: ‘My goals are still the same – the Classics with Liège and the Tour de France’

by VeloNation Press at 7:42 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Injury
 
RadioShack Leopard rider insists he can come back

Andy SchleckAlthough he dropped out of Tirreno Adriatico and has not finished a stage race in almost a year, Andy Schleck has said that he remains focussed and believes that he can return to good form this season.

The Luxembourg rider gave a television interview to RTL yesterday evening and sought to move on from recent media stories which reported claims by French Socialist Party politician Pierre-Yves Le Borgn that he had seen Schleck in a very drunken state in a Munich hotel the day he withdraw from the Tirreno race.

“The Munich story is ridiculous. I forgot pretty fast about it and I don’t want to comment on it any more,” Schleck told the RTL interviewer.

Looking relaxed and fit, the RadioShack Leopard rider said that he was training every day and enjoying his time with his family.

“I’m optimistic. I’m working hard, harder than before,” he said, when asked what he was doing to try to get back to top shape. “Since January I only slept six nights in my own bed at home. I believe that I can be a great cyclist once again. I will keep on working hard and I know that the people who believe in me will keep believing in me. I hope it will work out better in the future.

“My goals are still the same. The Classics with Liege and the Tour de France. I hope I can show a high level and we will see how far that will take me.”

Schleck finished second in the 2009 and 2011 Tours, and was elevated from the runner-up position for the 2010 race due to Alberto Contador’s positive test for clenbuterol. He is regarded as one of the most talented stage race riders of his generation, but his goal of another strong Tour in 2012 was dashed last year when he crashed heavily in the time trial of the Critérium du Dauphiné.

That fall fractured his sacrum and led to him having to withdraw prior to a number of races, including the Tour, the Olympic Games and the Vuelta a España.

He struggled for several months, starting races but withdrawing from each one. Things appeared to be moving to a better level when he completed the GP Città di Camaiore in Italy on February 28th. The RadioShack Leopard rider rolled in 91st in the race, crossing the line five and a half minutes behind the winner Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling).

However his bid to get through Tirreno-Adriatico unravelled when he was dropped early on the penultimate stage on March 11th and withdrew from the race.

He admits that was disappointing for him. “Of course I hoped for more for the beginning of this season. After the horrible last year with my fall, I thought I would have a good winter training with my team-mates in Spain and then it would work out,” he said. “But I had a different experience because my injury kept me from working as hard as I would have hoped to.

“Then I participated in my first races where I felt like I was doing alright, physically.” However he confirmed that other aspects have been testing for him. “It isn’t only a physical challenge to be a part of the peloton, but also a mental one. You have to get accustomed again to long races in the rain and fast sprints and descents.”

He does believe that aspect is improving, though. “I’m working on it and I noticed that it went better during the last race, except for the last stage where I was exhausted.”

Schleck didn’t state what his next race would be. The Tour de France organisers announced last week that he and other big names will do the Critérium International this coming weekend, but his RadioShack Leopard team said at the time that his participation was not yet decided.

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