The final verdict on
Contador's clenbuterol case is due in January, and Schleck, who finished
runner-up to the Spaniard, could be named the winner if the
International Cycling Union (UCI)and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)
have their way.
Schleck again reiterated to La Gazzetta dello Sport that the way to win a race is on the road and not in a courtroom in Switzerland, and who could disagree?
"I've been watching on TV and reading the papers but whatever sentence comes out it won't change my life,: Schleck told the La Gazzetta.
"The road already wrote the story and gave the verdict and I'm not
interested in anything else ... That's not how I want to win the Tour,"
after never having won a three week stage race as a professional, there
is mounting pressure for the talented climber to reassess his Tour de
France ambitions and instead target a maiden grand tour victory at the
Giro d'Italia in order to establish himself as a grand tour winner.
may have to take a more indirect route through Italy to claim a maiden
Tour de France win if you agree with comments made by such luminaries as
five-time Tour de France and Giro d'Italia winner, Eddy Merckx.
Merckx and a host of former Italian greats have been quoted in La Gazzetta as saying a victory in Italy is more important than a runner-up position in the Tour.
the Giro. But he has to race it and win it, which is not certain," said
Merckx. "But Andy must also race the Tour and aim for more than second
Francesco Moser, a Giro d'Italia winner in 1984, also thinks this strategy is a sound one and cautions against racing both.
Giro is the perfect race for Andy," said Moser. "Two short time trials,
a team time trial and uphill finishes favor him. But he cannot expect
to win the Giro and then the Tour. It's not just physical but also mental and he still
You'd have to agree with the
assessment of both the 'Canibal' and the 'Sheriff' - Shleck needs to
stand on the top step after three weeks to set himself up for future
Tour de France domination - a win in Italy may just give him that
winning feeling - or to use an Australianism, put a bit of mongrel in
Now Schleck and his newly minted RadioShack Nissan Trek team
have yet to organise their program for 2012 but I'm in the mood for
giving gratitous advice, so here is what I think RadioShack boss and grand tour whisperer
Johan Bruyneel, should do.
The team is stacked with talent enough
for three simultaneous grand tour teams, so give Andy a well supported
ride in the Giro - a race that suits his talents perfectly - while
splitting up his pairing with older brother Frank.
At the same
time have Frank lead the team into the Tour de France, again with
another powerful support group, but rest Andy in July and hope for a
more favourable Tour de France parcours in 2013.
brothers have always raced together and I think this has hampered their
abilities, with the pair seemingly always looking out for one another
rather than focusing on their competition.
Breaking the familial bonds may just be the tonic they both need to lash out on their own and unleash their obvious talents.
26 Andy has time to play with while Frank may not have many more
opportunities to ride for himself, so it's time for a new approach that
capitalises on their abilities.
We won't know until July in
Paris, but RadioShack Nissan Trek may even emerge from such an
experiment with two grand tour victories and a brotherly first.
Follow Phil on Twitter @Philip_Gomes.