Gloom in Paris-Nice. Another set-back for Andy Schleck.

 

Schleck. Upset stomach upsets Paris-Nice plans.

 

As RadioShack-Nissan Trek manager Johan Bruyneel never tires of saying, “the goal is yellow in Paris.” It ain’t easy just getting to France.

Andy Schleck’s build-up for Le Tour took a hit today as a stomach ailment took him out of Paris-Nice. ”Against sickness you cannot do a lot. I need to let my body recover from this,” said Schleck. “This is bad news, I wanted to perform well in Paris-Nice, but I better not jeopardize the rest of the season.”

While he’ll miss the race intensity and mileage, the withdrawal is another disappoint for Bruyneel’s Man Up program for the talented but perennial Tour runner-up.

Upon taking over the merged RadioShack and Leopard squads, Bruyneel immediacy confiscated the Leopard scarves and forbid the pillow fights the Schlecks had enjoyed so much. He also brought in Lance Armstrong’s personal fragrance coach to develop a more manly scent for Schleck and insisted he take boxing lessons.

Bruyneel even forced Schleck to ride without a security blanket. Schleck the Younger rode in Qatar without his brother Frank and the separation was yet another component of the Man Up program.

However the new stomach illness has Bruyneel questioning the Luxembourger’s internal determination. “It takes guts to win the Tour,” said director sportif Dirk Demol. “Johan’s beginning to wonder of he’s too fragile. You don’t get off your bike because you have a tummy ache. Not in the Tour.”

Still there’s no panic in the RadioShack-Nissan Trek camp as yet. While Schleck could only manage 124th place in the opening 9.4 kilometer time trial and finished a minute down, he regains confident. “My goals are situated later in the season,” he noted.

For Bruyneel, it’s clear that the Man Up program will require some additional work if yellow is indeed the color they have in mind for France.

 

 

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  • Jwcraw

    Matt I would love your opinion on Andy's chance to win this year's TDF. Looking at the stages I only see mountain top finishes on stage 7, 11, 17 but I think it's going to be hard to create a lot of space with the better climbers like Niballi, Rodriguez, Vino, Horner, Danielson all marking his moves allowing more of the grinders like Evans and Levi to close those gaps. To this end I don't see him gaining enough time to offset his TT skills.

    Furthermore it looks like there's mountaintop summits with a short decent into the finish line on stages 10 and 16. If there's any moisture on those descents, we can expect to see him on the back of the train getting gapped.

    So if I were a betting man, my money would not be on Andy for this year's tour. While not as prestigious as the TDF, I think he'd be better served in more dynamic races like the Giro or the Vuelta.

    Who's your pick?

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com TwistedSpoke

      jwcraw, I don't think Andy has a serious shot. Tempting to go with Evans again but I feel like he was just as lucky as he was tough last year. Everything went his way. Then again with all the TT in Le Tour you have to move Wiggins but and his team will be strong but I don't' think he can stay upright for the whole tour — he's just too fragile. So I haven't answered the question. With Bruyneel at the controls, they will ride a very aggressive race. I have to double back and go with Evans or a surprise winner — somebody like Nibali. Matt