Andreas Klöden believes that he will lead RadioShack in 2011
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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Andreas Klöden believes that he will lead RadioShack in 2011

by Jered Gruber at 1:53 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Enigmatic star ready for another shot at glory

Andreas Klöden's 2010 Tour de France went a lot like that of his RadioShack team's: forgettably. Though the team managed a respectable Tour by way of taking the top spot in the teams classification and a stage win courtesy Sergio Paulinho, the much hoped for and hyped all-star team of overall contenders yielded very little. Chris Horner led the team home in 10th place overall, while two-time second place finisher at the Tour de France, Klöden, finished a quiet 14th overall, over sixteen minutes in arrears of three-time Tour de France champion, Alberto Contador.

Even with the disappointing result, the 35 year old German feels that next year will be his year: "I think for sure that next year the team will focus on me, and I'll have a chance to do a good ride at the Tour."

One has to wonder what Klöden expects in 2011. The bronze medalist in the 2000 Olympic road race was given free rein early on at this year's Tour de France following the collapse of team leader, Lance Armstrong, in the early going in the Alps. Even with the chance to look after his own interests, Klöden was not able to cash in on the opportunity.

Klöden had a solid build up to the Tour de France in 2010 complete with consistent results from February to June - the only problem is that the improvement never happened. For a Tour de France contender, taking an 8th overall at the Volta ao Algarve and 4th overall at the Vuelta Murcia is a great way to ring in the new year. Moving closer to the Tour, overall finishes of 8th at the Tour de Luxembourg and then 8th in his major pre-Tour test, the Tour de Suisse, were yet again great indicators that his form was coming along. The form that took the enigmatic rider to two runner-up finishes in Paris never materialized though. It's not the first time that Klöden has suffered through an off year though, so the only real question for 2011 will be: what kind of year will Klödi enjoy? One of his fantastic good years, or another forgettable jaunt through the racing months?

While the rider who has been racing professionally since 1998 didn't have too much to say about his Tour de France to German news source, Zeit, he did have an opinion on the now legendary incident on the Col de Bales in Stage 15 of the Tour de France: Andy's dropped chain.

"I was at the front when it happened. Everyone saw that Andy had a mechanical and was standing there in the road. If Alberto was a great champion, he would have waited."

While some will applaud Klöden's opinions and others will scoff, it's just another click on the little poll on the sidebar of the world's opinion: should he or shouldn't he?

Klöden's comments about 2011 are interesting in that it might perhaps shed a little bit of light as to who will take up the reins of leadership on the team in the absence of Lance Armstrong. Was this just a bad year for Klöden, or is it just another step downward as he heads inexorably toward retirement? What about Levi Leipheimer? Are his best years behind him as well? The second retirement of Lance Armstrong will make for some big questions, but it will also provide the opportunity for some big answers.

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