Andy Schleck pulls out of Tour de France: analysis
Luxembourg cycling superstar Andy Schleck has pulled out of the 2012 Tour de France due to injuries suffered in last week’s Criterium du Dauphine.
A recent addition to Radioshack’s team, the climbing specialist – who was recently awarded the 2010 Tour de France title after the disqualification of Spaniard Alberto Contador for doping – crashed hard during Thursday’s 53km time trial after a gust of wind forced Schleck onto the ground.
Schleck finished the stage, but complained of terrible back and leg pain to his team after the stage. Obviously feeling the effects of his injuries, Schleck retired from the race 63km into Saturday’s sixth stage which gave all cycling fans some food for thought.
As Schleck’s team director at RadioShack explained: “He couldn’t pedal anymore,” “Since he crashed during the time trial the whole right side of his body was hurting.”
Schleck’s abandonment of this year’s Tour de France caps of what has been a terrible year for the 27 year old where he has also abandoned other top races such as Paris – Nice and the Tour of Catalunya as well as being forced to cut a training camp short in May in order to have knee surgery.
While the news of Schleck’s no show in this year’s Tour de France will make the race a little less exhilarating to watch, the benefits will be reaping for Cadel Evans.
In his quest to defend his Tour de France crown, Cadel Evans will welcome this news as he won’t have to worry about Andy Schleck attacks in the mountains and really now, the battle for the yellow jersey is now down to three: Bradley Wiggins, Frank Schleck and of course, Evans.
However if you think Cadel will have it easy in July then you are wrong. Bradley Wiggins is in the form of his career with a fantastic team behind him and we all know the threat that Frank Schleck poses; especially in the mountains.
Undoubtedly though Frank Schleck will be a stronger performer this year with the whole RadioShack team now behind him in July.
Unlike in previous years, the fact that Frank will have the whole team working for him in July is a major boost to his chances of stepping atop the podium on the Champs – Elysees, as now his rivals don’t have the team support factor as an edge over the Luxembourg rider.
Andy Schleck’s abandonment of this year’s Tour poses many questions such as:
Does this pave the way for Frank Schleck? Will Wiggins now be too strong? Is this the perfect break for Cadel? Or will a surprise packet shine? Or, does this hurt Cadel? He may need to break Wiggins in the mountain top stages. Andy Schleck was a potential candidate to help snap Wiggins. It could be a positive, or a negative.
You can attempt to answer these questions; or you could wait just 16 more days where all will be revealed. Bring on Le Tour!