Andy Shleck injured his knee back in December when he was hit by a car. The knee may or may not be coming around. What’s clear is that Schleck has a serious case of whiplash.
The man can’t seem to get his season started. He’s seen a half dozen specialists for treatment on his ailing knee. He was still in pain in January and scratched his participation in the Trofeo Mallorca in February.
He also missed the Ruta del Sol and recorded a DNF in Milan San Remo. Now, suffering from a cold, he’s pulled the plug on the Volta a Catalunya. What’s the real story here?
Is Schleck just emotionally exhausted by the hoopla surrounding his brother’s marriage and baby? Is he worn out by his plans to leave Saxo Bank and build a Luxembourg super team? Has there been another fishing accident like the one his brother Frank experienced?
In the meanwhile Alberto Contator looks as strong as ever, winning the Volta ao Algarve and Paris Nice. Questions remain about the firepower of Contador’s Astana squad in a grand tour but that won’t be an issue if Schleck can’t pull his training together.
Right now, Contador is probably pouring himself a glass of sangria and celebrating his good fortune. When he reviews the competition he sees Shleck with knee problems, an aging Armstrong with a weak stomach and in need of more races and a soon-to-be banned world-wide Alejandro Valverde.
He’s thinking he could win another tour with eight bike riders from the Astana Postal Service. All he needs now is for Bradley Wiggins of Sky to crash and El Pistelero is home free.
It’s still March and there’s still a good amount of time to sort things out for Schleck and Armstrong. But today Alberto Contador is feeling extra confident and that’s can’t be a good thing for anyone else.