News flash: no matter what you think you heard, Andy Schleck, is NOT retired and will be racing in France this July in an attempt to win the mountain stage from St. Jean de Maurienne to La Toussuire.
Only he’ll be racing it on July 19th with a bunch of rich cycling tourist wannabes instead of against Froome, Quintana and defending champ Vincenzo Nibali during the real, stage 19, live bullets version on July 24th.
Early bookie odds have Schleck as the overwhelming favorite as he goes up again fantasy camp riders all looking for their Contador moment. Or Evans moment or even their Valverde moment.
Pay an extra $1000 and Andy will accidentally drop his chain, allowing some lucky amateur to simply ride Andy off his wheel. Then Andy will curse him at the dinner table and claim he has a belly full of anger or pasta or steak frites and red French wine. God this sounds like outrageous fun.
This Etape du Tour with Andy should be exciting on almost every level — sporting, emotional, ironic, comedic, you-name-it. Really, we are tempted to book the whole 7 day extravaganza despite the high cost — $4699 US dollars. For that price, you should get a special pub crawl with Andy after the stage — a kind of Etape du Bar. I mean, really, why not?
Trek Travel, the vacation spin off of Trek Bicycle, (and Schleck’s former employer) has taken Andy on for this new job. Which also means that in some strange, cosmic, hilarious way the Brothers Schleck will be riding the Tour — and the Alps — together again, albeit on different days.
Frank can’t actually pedal alongside his brother but he has the deep psychological comfort of knowing that only a few days before his brother has ridden the same roads. Andy might even stop and paint his own special message to Frank on the route up to La Toussuire. (Don’t think the marketing people at Trek haven’t already given that some thought.)
Now according to the Trek Travel press release, Andy will be one busy former superstar climber this Summer. He is booked for several of the Trek travel vacations in 2015. He is, among other rides, doing the Mallorca Ride Camp in May. Let’s hope the damaged knee that forced him into retirement will hold up under all the strain.
“There is simply no other way to ride with this former champion. And no excuse to pass this opportunity by,” said the company, ignoring the high cost of the cycling-reality-vacation show.
This is better than staying at the Hotel Domestique and rolling around the roads of South Caroline with ex-pro George Hincapie. Accommodations for the Etape du Tour are strictly first rate and no amenity will be withheld.
The burning question is what happens if brother Frank crashes out of the Tour? He’s done it before and with the general craziness and a cobblestone stage, who knows what terrible things might befall Frank.
Will Frank then join Andy for the Etape du Tour, giving participants a double shot of Schleck? Really, that would almost be too much? Singing duets and fishing stories at the dinner table and maybe old Trek, Saxo and Leopard teammate Jens Voigt drops in. Trek knows how to throw a party and Trek Travel knows even better. This could be off the hook awesome.
Twisted Spoke says, sign up NOW.