Kuala Lampur----->Amsterdam---->home(s) According to Jens Voigt that has been the way back from Australia. Riders are probably sleepy now and it will take a little to get over the jet lag but Andy Schleck's busy schedule has Tour Med signed as the next race: only a week to recover and get fit again. A week to make the point mentally: to understand what doesn't work yet and how to deal with it. Not alone of course.
A rider's problem is his team's problem and they have the right professionalities there to detect and fix it. A professional rider has to listen to his team's staff but the opposite is also true. Problems can be hard to fix when you don't consider them in the large context of an athlete's life. Then he must work. That's on him. And 'to work' involves not only to train but also to rest, to diet, to focus, to trust, to be flexible to changement and hard in enduring the effort.
I don't write that just about Andy. That's how it works in general. In evrybody's life. Top athletes have got the luck their well-working is worth of money and so a professional staff is payed to look after them. Normal people must look after themself. I think it's harder but in a way it's easier: you have nothing to explain anybody. You can also decide to give up and nobody notice. They must respond to lots of people: their team, their mates, their fans, the press. I'm always scared by 'fans' cruelty and superficiality. They talk as if athletes were characters in a film not human beings with feelings. Often press and fans show unrealistic expectations and judge athletes' performances according to that. That's why top athletes should have a good PR....
Anyway, Tour Med isn't a hard race but some stages are hard and level improved costantly in the last years. Can Andy's shape improve in six days? can he be better than in Australia next week? I don't think so. He can improve during the race, racing obstinately and focusing on his improving, adequately supported by his team not in order to get a result but in order to get THAT result: a decent shape to afford his next races. Tirreno-Adriatico IS a hard race and it's close.
I am not worried - or scared. To be worried is useless. Andy and his team fixed a schedule, they are working together to respect it and I hope it will not change. But they must be serious about it. Both of them. In this moment Andy's shape isn't enough for an elite rider. No panic but they must consider, misure the time it will take to bring him back to a basic elite level. It makes no sense to send people to races they can't afford. It isn't useless: it's negative.
Finally, tomorrow the ALAD is going to decide about Frank Schleck and I'm sure that sentence will affect Andy's season. Just the fact to have a sentence will help him to focus on his riding, no doubt. I think it will be a short bann and they will be able to think together of their way back to the Tour de France. Meanwhile it's better to keep a respectful silence.
Tour of Med is since the 6th of February till the 10th, 667km from Limoux to Grasse (South France).
You can find the start list here:
As far as RSLT is concerned, that's the roster so far: