The Schlecks become Frank Schleck

Because Andy Schleck has retired from cycling. The reason given is that he has no cartilage left in his knee, which causes it to swell up whenever he makes harder efforts. However, that’s really just the final straw, because in reality the last couple of years seem to have been written by an Eastenders scriptwriter. Woe has alternated with suffering with occasional injections of misfortune.

Let’s be honest about this. There are two schools of thought when it comes to Andy Schleck. The first is the official story, where he’s struggled with form and motivation in recent times, picking up a series of significant injuries and never being able to put enough work in to reach his former level. The second is that he doped back when he was good and was never really as good as he appeared to be.

We literally don’t have an opinion on this. Yes, his brother was banned, but it was for a fairly innocuous offence and that is hardly evidence anyway. The list of recent injuries is genuine, although he never seemed to progress much in between them. All in all, it’s all been very bleak for a while now and maybe it’s best for everyone – Andy included – that his carrer is over.

His Palmares says that he won Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 2009 and the Tour de France (technically, after Alberto Contador was stripped of his win) in 2010. He also managed two second place finishes in the Tour, in 2009 and 2011 and second in the Giro in 2007. However, his main achievement in my eyes was having everyone talk about The Schlecks as if they were just one person. Being funny is always more important than winning.

Let’s give his great rival, Alberto Contador, the final word. He paid tribute to Andy on Twitter and surely no-one has summed things up better than this: