The Schlecks need to be rebooted
2014 is the year of the Schlecks.
The Schleck brothers have had careers that most would be happy to have. That said, it’s not easy being a Schleck.
Older brother Fränk has won stages in the Tour of California, Tour de Luxembourg, Tour de France, taken the overall in the Tour de Suisse, and second in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, to name a few of his successes. Heck, he finished third overall in the 2011 Tour de France!
The 2012 season was sparser for Fränk. It was the second year that he and his brother Andy were riding for RadioShack-Nissan under director Johan Bruyneel. There’s a smattering of top three placings, but no classic and no grand tour stage wins. Then the bombshell drops - during the Tour de France his A-sample returned traces of Xipamide, a diuretic which can be used as a masking agent. He was kicked out of the Tour and then suspended by his RadioShack-Nissan team. Late last year the Luxembourg Anti-Doping Agency stated that the older Schleck didn’t purposely take the drug. So instead of a two year suspension he received a one year ban and can return to competition this July.
Younger brother Andy also has had a solid career. In 2009, back in the Saxo Bank days, Andy was second in Flèche Wallonne, won Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and finished second in the Tour de France.
In 2010 his season is filled with consistent placing with the cherry on top being his second place in the Tour de France, which was bumped to first after Alberto Contador was popped for clenbuterol.
The 2011 season was another decent year as the Schlecks left Team Saxo Bank and were now at Leopard-Trek with Andy taking a second place in the Tour de France. But the worm turned in 2012.
Andy’s best 2012 results were 32nd at the Tour of Oman and 50th in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. He didn’t even start in the Tour because of a nagging injury.
That run of bad luck continued in the 2013 Tirreno-Adriatico. He almost crashed in the team time trial and in the pouring rain of stage 6, Andy pulled to the side of the road and got into the broom wagon.
Immediately the social media lit into Andy. He hadn’t finished a stage race since the 2012 Tour of Oman in February and while he finished the one-day GP di Camaiore race in February, prior to that he hadn’t finished a race since the 2012 Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
Sure he was coming back from a crash in the Criterium du Dauphine stage 4 time trial fracturing his sacrum, AKA the tail bone, and was suffering from a knee injury. However, the public didn’t remember or didn’t care. I hope Andy stayed away from the internet because the public beat him like a red headed step-child.
There was much talk that Andy was suffering from the psychological effects of being separated from his brother or that the public criticism of his then director Bruyneel sent him into a downward spiral. Who the heck knows?
The RadioShack-Leopard director Dirk Demol thinks he might have a clue. In the Belgian