Andy Schleck: “The advantage is that I’ll have Fränk on my side in the Tour.”
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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Andy Schleck: “The advantage is that I’ll have Fränk on my side in the Tour.”

by Ben Atkins at 4:23 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Fränk Schleck hungry to get racing after an 18-month suspension and lay-off

andy schleckAndy Schleck (Trek Factory Racing) looks ahead to 2014, having had two disappointing seasons in the years before. 2012 saw the Luxembourg former Tour champion sit out most of the year through injury, while 2013 saw him struggle to recapture his form of previous seasons. Many of his problems have been attributed to the fact that elder brother Fränk was serving a one-year suspension for much of last year, and was not rehired by the RadioShack-Leopard team when cleared to race again.

The main target for Andy Schleck this year will be the Tour de France, as usual, where he hopes to perform considerably better than in 2013, where he rarely featured at the front of the race and finished a disappointing 20th overall.

"It should be better in 2014, of course,” he said. "I am very aware of this. I need to hone my time trial skills and my climbing too. I want to keep getting better. Regarding the time trial, I’m working a lot more kilometres on the time trial bike. So I hope I improve in this discipline.”

Although Fränk was not taken back by RadioShack-Leopard, he has been hired by the new Trek Factory Racing team that has taken over its licence. This means that the two brothers will be reunited at the Tour once again, where they will hope to recreate the double act that saw them fill two steps of the Paris podium in 2011, after Andy had been awarded the 2010 race.

“The advantage is that I’ll have Fränk on my side in the Tour,” Andy said. “Again it gives me a very good feeling. It's really too early to look ahead to the Tour de France, who is and who is not going to be good. There is still half a year to go, there is still a lot that can happen, but the group of favourites for the final victory will be limited again. I hope I can certainly be part of it.”

frank schleckFränk Schleck served a one year suspension after testing positive for banned diuretic Xipamide during the 2012 Tour de France. He was cleared to return to racing on July 14th of last year but, since he was not taken back by RadioShack-Leopard, he has effectively served an 18-month ban.

"I've been out for a while due to 'circumstances,' but now I'm really ready to serve,” Fränk said. “I am eager to race again. I still love to ride my bike. This is and remains my passion. It is simply in our genes.

“I continued to train and take care of myself well,” he added. “I watched what I did and what I ate. My motivation is still great. I will begin my season no differently to usual. I've been around long enough as a rider to know what is good or bad for me. Of course we get guidelines from the team and a training plan to follow. My first focus is the races in the Ardennes.”

So eager is he to return to the peloton, that Fränk Schleck will be making his earliest ever start to a professional road season, at the very first WorldTour race of the year.

"I’ll start to my season in the Tour Down Under in Australia,” he explained. “There we will lay the Foundation for what should follow. A second highlight has to be the Tour de France. What comes next, we will then see. However, I am ready. The hunger for racing is immense.”

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