It's official: I've given up on Andy Schleck!
Let me clarify by predicting Schlecky will not be standing on the podium in Paris at the end this year's Tour de France.
it's a big-call but I confess to never being a fan even though he's
finished runner-up in the world's biggest race on three occasions.
somewhat reluctant to come to this conclusion as Andy is one of
pro-cycling's nicest guys. He's always been approachable to the
international media and always lives life with a smile on his face.
no doubt he deserves a break, and he probably received one when Alberto
Contador was stripped of his 2010 Tour victory which prompted Andy's
A lasting image which will live with me for many years involved Andy on the penultimate day at last year's TdF.
Cadel Evans left the starter's gate in Grenoble for the historic
individual time-trial victory, Andy's body language suggested
there-and-then he wasn't born to race-against-the-clock.
sometimes wonder if he ever will be able to master the strength and
concentration required of the best chrono riders. A necessary skill if
one is to win a Tour.
And unless there's a dramatic form
reversal, I feel history will repeat itself this year for him despite
the obvious strength of his RadioShack-Nissan team.
for the 2012 Tour has 100 kilometres of time-trialling and although the
mountain stages are sharper and steeper, I really don't think it will
be of any benefit to the Luxembourger.
Paris-Nice after just two days as a result of a stomach bug will no
doubt be a major setback to Andy's preparation, and while critics may
argue there's plenty of time before July, it doesn't wash with me.
shows Andy will find form in next month's Spring Classics especially
Liege-Bastogne-Liege which he won in 2009 and has finished no worse than
top 6 in the last four years.
At the Tour of California last
year he managed to finish 8th overall before heading to France where he
failed to topple Cadel at the last hurdle.
There's no doubt Andy
has the pedigree to win a Grand Tour but I don't think the powers at ASO
have provided any favours with the course that's been offered.
My early prediction will probably come back to haunt me and I'm sure I'll be reminded of this blog if indeed, Andy does challenge for a place on the podium.
what it's worth, I selected Cadel to win in 2012, the day after he won
the 2011 Tour and there's nothing I've seen since to make me change my
And after Bradley Wiggins's victory at Paris-Nice I'm certain he will also be up there.
As for third Ã¢â¬â it's far too early to call and I'll reserve judgement until May when the big one-day races are done-and-dusted.
For now though, I'm wishing Andy all the best Ã¢â¬â for 2013!