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When Bobby Julich and Jens Voigt were on Team CSC in 2004, it had a strong roster full of riders who were well established in their cycling careers. Among those seasoned pros, there were upstart riders as well, and perhaps none was better than this week’s guest on Bobby & Jens, Andy Schleck, the first ever Tour de France champion on the podcast.
A listener of Bobby & Jens, Andy was excited to finally be on the show, and he gives plenty of insight into his professional career. From a young age there was nothing Andy didn’t think he could achieve. Throughout his career, from a neo-pro to a GC contender, that mentality stuck around. No matter how well-known he became or how much his salary increased, he was on the same mission every season: to prove himself.
Andy takes us through a time when he first proved himself on a big stage, at the 2007 Giro d’Italia, his first Grand Tour, where he ended up coming in second despite the team going in with only stage hunting aspirations. Andy says he treated every stage there as a one-day race, to great results. “Finishing second there, I would say, was like the start of my career basically.”
Part of what made Andy such an entertaining, successful racer was that he operated on gut instinct and feel, less so by numbers. “It made you more unpredictable,” says Jens. It’s a racing style that is very much at odds with the prevailing tactics of today’s pro peloton, but that was responsible for some all-time-great G.C. battles.
Most of those memorable G.C. battles came against the person he most wanted to beat: Alberto Contador. Find out what Andy thinks his advantage was against a rider who he describes as physically stronger all around.
Andy’s rivalry with Alberto Contador is all the more interesting because the Spaniard was stripped of his 2010 Tour de France title, which was then given to Andy. He talks about being a Tour winner who didn’t get to stand atop the final podium in Paris. “Am I really the Tour de France winner of 2010?” he remembers wondering when it happened. Find out how he feels about the circumstances that led to him being declared the winner, and how those feelings have evolved.
Andy also discusses other major victories from his storied career, including Liège–Bastogne–Liège. And the conversation turns to what Andy has been up to since retiring from cycling, from starting his own business to being a race director to running a women’s pro cycling team. There’s quite a lot on his plate!
Listen to this week’s episode for the full discussion.
“Bobby & Jens” is a weekly VeloNews podcast. It stars former pros Bobby Julich and Jens Voigt and features conversations with top athletes, coaches, emerging stars, and other newsmakers from the wide world of cycling. Subscribe now wherever you get your podcasts.