Frank Schleck has doused suggestions that he'll be RadioShack-Nissan's natural leader for the Tour de France after the withdrawal of his younger brother Andy, pointing to Andreas Kloden as the team's more likely number one.
I am not a machine. You must be realistic. I am already in great shape, so I can not keep it to the Tour. I will not be named captain, nor do I want to be. I'm saying this now so that people don't question my performance at the Tour.
Schleck had appeared a strong candidate to stand up for RadioShack-Nissan in the Tour de France after finishing second overall at the Tour de Suisse. In May, he was third overall at the Tour de Luxembourg and has been one of the most consistent riders for the team this year.
But after riding much of the Giro d'Italia, and missing out on the rest and recuperation that he normally would have taken after the Ardennes, Schleck says he's two to three weeks ahead of schedule with his form, and will be fatiguing come the second and third weeks of the Tour de France.
It's a sentiment that friend and RadioShack-Nissan sporting director Kim Andersen agrees with.
"I have heard rumours that Frank could be fighting for victory in its current form, but honestly, I think that's a little bit crazy," said Andersen.
Schleck's perceived weakness in the time trial already had him discounted by many ahead of the Grand Boucle this year, which includes more than 100 kilometres of the discipline.
Both Andersen and Schleck point to German Andreas Kloden as the team's captain.
RadioShack-Nissan's participation at the Tour de France remains under a cloud, after allegations by the United States Anti-Doping Authority, that several people including general manager Johan Bruyneel, and a team doctor, were involved in a doping conspiracy with US Postal, Astana, and RadioShack.