Yes, I have a concussion, yes, Andy has my back.
Andy Schleck won’t be in the captains role for Trek at the Tour de France which kicks off on July 5th in Leeds, England. That’s no surprise given that he’s not close to the rider he was after his crash two years ago that cracked his pelvis.
Still, things seem kind of odd and strange that Schleck will be riding for Haimar Zubeldia and his brother. Sure Frank is in better form — unless you count the serious concussion from the Tour de Suisse — but 27 year old Zubeldia?
My, how the mighty have fallen off the pace and dropped out the back.
In fact, this may be quite an odd Tour de France for the boys from Trek Factory Racing. Andy is fetching bottles, Frank is one crash away from another concussion — read, narrow roads, England, Tour craziness — and 42 year old Jens Voigt will be saying farewell and praying for a final breakaway before his legs refuse to shut up.
We can’t help but think it’s going to be a very dangerous first week for Frank. Every expert who has looked at those roads in England — the charming, narrow country lanes with the flocks of sheep and quaint farmhouses — has almost guaranteed a number of crashes. A severe concussion only a three weeks before the Tour means a far higher susceptibility for a second one.
Even a minor fall could knock Frank out of the race — think he’s excited about the Roubaix cobbles on stage five? He still has bad memories about crashing out of the race on the cobbles of the 2010 edition. Could get ugly and tragic and another bad headshot starts to put Frank’s long term health in question.
Fact is, we think there’s a high probability that Frank Schleck won’t finish the Tour de France. Haimar Zubeldia better step up but we wouldn’t be too surprised if American Matthew Busche isn’t the highest-placed on GC even though it is his first Tour.
Either way, Andy will be on bottle duty and that’s kinda sad when you consider that his old podium rival Alberto Contador has a solid shot at beating Sky’s Chris Froome and winning Le Tour. Meanwhile, Andy will be back at the car taking another ten bottles for the rest of the gang.
Team manager Luca Guercilena had this to say about bringing Andy to Le Tour. “He showed a lot of desire and he has progressed since the Classics. Riders of his stature should have the opportunity to compete in the race that made them great.” Which kinda sounds like throwing the guy a bone for good behavior two years back. There’s a past-tense vibe in “race that made them great” as if that greatness isn’t coming back again.
That pretty much leaves Fabian Cancellara with all the pressure on his shoulders to deliver a result on the stage five pave or the time trial. Tony Martin and Chris Froome, Andrew Talansky and Tejay van Garderen will have something to say about that time trial. Given that its 54k long and on the 20th stage, who knows how weary Cancellara will be.
It might be a very quiet 2104 Tour de France for Trek. Andy at the back, Frank out after a second concussion, Cancellara beaten by Martin, Jens Voigt just waving goodbye.
Final Trek Tour roster: Fabian Cancellara, Gregory Rast, Danny van Poppel, Markel Irizar, Haimar Zubeldia and Matthew Busche.