The Schlecks aren’t dead but what of Cadel Evans?
Cadel Evans won the 2011 Tour de France. Andy Schleck came second. Frank Schleck came third. That seems an awfully long time ago. None of these riders has had a particularly good time since and last weekend’s Criterium Internationale brought few signs that will be changing any time soon.
Frank Schleck is currently banned for what was deemed to have been unintentional consumption of a banned substance, but he’s still in a better place than his brother. Andy’s 2012 season brought him one win, which was somewhat bizarrely the 2010 Tour de France after a long-running legal battle finally saw Alberto Contador stripped of his victory.
Other than that, Andy spent most of last year abandoning races and thinking about his fractured sacrum. 2013 has brought more of the same and his astonishingly poor performance is highlighted by the fact that his completion of Criterium Internationale was considered something of a success. Andy himself celebrated with the apparently necessary pronouncement:
“I was never dead.”
It was the first stage race he’s completed in almost a year, but let’s put that in context – it’s a stage race that takes place over the course of a weekend. There were three stages: a flat 90km stage, a 7km time trial and a proper mountain stage. A Grand Tour it wasn’t.
Schleck finished 22 minutes behind Chris Froome on that mountain stage, but no-one expected much better. Relatively speaking, Cadel Evans had a much worse time of things. Vying for team leadership with Tejay Van Garderen, he gave a really shoddy account of himself, somehow managing to lose 45 seconds on the time trial.
45 seconds in 7km is astonishingly bad for someone with ambitions of winning a Grand Tour, but to really drive home the degree of underachievement, he finished one second behind Andy Schleck, who couldn’t even time trial back when he was good.
Evans was forced to accept domestique duties for the mountain stage, but couldn’t even complete those satisfactorily, dropping out of the main group without making much of a contribution. He finished 15 minutes after Froome and is yet to make an official statement confirming that he is still alive.