The Schlecks need to be rebooted

News & Results

03/12/2013| 0 comments
by Neil Browne
Andy Schleck in this year's Tirreno-Adriatico (RadioShack-Leopard) Fotoreporter Sirotti

The Schlecks need to be rebooted

2014 is the year of the Schlecks.

newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, Demol thinks that Andy still isn’t right in the head after his time trial crash at the Dauphine.

“Andy still doesn’t feel safe, even on a regular bike. In the team time trial (at Tirreno-Adriatico), he was dropped on the descent. The speed went to 75, 80 kilometers per hour and all of a sudden he was uncertain.”

While Andy’s Tirreno-Adriatico is over, RadioShack is hoping in seven weeks he’ll be able to be a factor in this year’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

I’m not so sure. You have to expect that type of positive reinforcement from team management. They can’t say, “Well the Schlecks turned out to be a huge waste of money. We’re hoping Chris Horner can race until he’s 45.”

Why is it that when Andy DQs he gets ridiculed so ferociously? It’s because we expect more from someone who has had, up until 2012, an impressive resume: stage wins, classic victory and on the top step of a grand tour. If he was just a worker bee no one would notice that Andy hasn’t finished a stage race for more than a year. And the public demands that our stars perform. There is a darker suggestion to why the Schlecks haven’t been a factor in the races for so long.

If there’s anything we’ve learned these past few weeks it is that organized team-wide doping didn’t mysteriously stop in 2006. Rabobank had an aggressive doping program and Michael Rasmussen, who rode for the Dutch squad from 2003 to 2007, gave a television interview naming names of what, when, and how they doped on the squad. Prior to the US Postal Service team, we had Festina and before them the PDM team. So excuse me if I don’t think organized team-wide doping has stopped. Maybe it’s not as aggressive with a potpourri of performance enhancing drugs, but more selective products that might not put a rider in “glow time” during a race and therefore are untraceable or at least harder to detect.

In 2012 Team Sky employed Dr. Geert Leinders who, according to Levi Leipheimer and now Michael Rasmussen, supplied them with EPO during their Rabobank days. Sky didn’t renew the doctor’s contract later in the year. I just can’t naïvely say that because Sky states they have a strict anti-doping policy there was no way Dr. Leinders was encouraging doping. I’m merely stating facts - a doctor with strong ties to doping allegations was working with a team that should have Googled “Dr. Geert Leinders” as part of their vetting process.

In 2011 Bruyneel had his dirty paws all over the RadioShack squad. Could he still have had his doping habits in place? Remember, Fränk has admitted to paying the infamous Dr. Fuentes seven-thousand euros for “training advice.” That’s a whole lot of advice for interval training or fast-cadence climbing drills. You can get training advice much cheaper by signing up for the training tracker service in the right column of this page.

In 2012 Bruyneel is gone from the RadioShack team and the Schlecks’ results hit

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