Monday, June 20, 2011

The curious case of Andy Schleck

Let me start off by saying that I will be rooting for Leopard Trek to have some glory at the Tour this year.  I could not have been more impressed with the way the team handled the death of a teammate.  They are a class act, and I hope they keep Wouter Weylandt in the front of everyone's mind.

HUGS make "Angry" Tummies all better

That being said, let's talk about the Tour:

I have to ask the the question, can Andy Schleck win the Tour de France?  Can he beat the likes of Contador/Riis, Evans, Basso and the rest?

After watching races all year, all I can wonder is....WTF is up with Andy Schleck and his form/racing tactics/media comments?  I can understand some of the events of the year like racing ATOC with a heavy heart.  But as I am looking at the entire season, you have odd moments all around with the "Schleck Bros towing service" of Phillipe Gilbert at Amstel Gold.  Most recently, getting dropped at the Tour de Suisse and then being pleased with a 2nd place to Thomas De Gent the next day. Andy, you lost the stage to Thomas De Gent, not the ghost of Fausto Coppi, why are you happy with that showing?  Do you expect to see De Gent on the big climbs next month?

I think some good points are made in the recent VeloNation article:  but, I think one point is missed.  Last year his results were similar prior to Le Tour, but he had Bjarne Riis in the Team car.  I know many wondered what Riis was really up to last year with Schleck vs Conta etc.. but you can't deny Riis knows how to win (by rook or by crook) and wanted the TDF for his resume.

I'm not sure who is in Andy's ear piece this year. From watching the races, I would assume it's a combo of Forrest Gump, Alan from the Hangover and Michael Scott.

Heard over race radio during Amstel Gold "Don't attack him, he is a nice Walloone!"

There are athletes that are "killers", they just have that IT quality and they know how to seize the moment. Cyclists like Merckx, Hinault, Lance and Conta have it.  In other sports you have Tom Brady, MJ, Kobe etc..

You also have the "Never gonna get it" club: Lebron James, Karl Malone, the Buffalo Bills, etc.  This has nothing to do with how good a person they are, or what they do out of their sport, they just CAN'T win the big one.  Last year for about 17 hours, I thought Schleck was the MAN and had found IT!  He was so pissed he had his "Stomach full of anger" and wanted his revenge.  Apparently he took a Pepto flavored GU because by the time he crossed the line his tummy was all better. He got played (and he didn't really care) on the Tourmalet. So I just can't picture him owning his moment in 2011, if and when it presents itself.  He has even said this Tour isn't about revenge and he is looking past last year. Funny,  the GREATS wouldn't be looking past it; they would be thinking about it 24/7 until they WON!

The other challenge for Andy Schleck in the 2011 Tour is his bro Frank Schleck. Last year some felt not having Frank was a disadvantage later in the race.  I disagree.  Every time I see them race together they are looking for each other and waiting up for each other. This could work out if they had the tactical ability of even Donald Rumsfeld but we know they can't take advantage even when it's 2 on 1.

I will bet on Conta, Evans, Basso, Gesink and Van den Broeck but not on the very likeable, kind, nice (but soft) Schleck brothers.  They could totally be bluffing Edward Norton style and if they come on strong and show no mercy, then I will be the 1st to admit I was wrong:

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  1. Don't forget the brothers got their hunting license this year.

  2. Great blog. I love Andy but sadly have to agree. I loved the Gump,Hangover, Michael Scott comment.