It’s been nearly a year since Andy Schleck (RadioShack-Leopard) broke his sacrum at the 2012 Critérium du Dauphiné, and the road to recovery has been brutal for the 27-year-old Luxembourger.
After a meager start to the 2013 season Schleck is looking to regain form at the Amgen Tour of California, in preparation for the Tour de France. He’s racing aboard Trek’s more forgiving Domane frame instead of the racy Madone because he favors the ride quality and more relaxed geometry.
“The ride quality gives him more confidence,” said Jordan Roessingh, Trek’s road team liaison. The Domane features IsoSpeed technology with a decoupler that increases vertical compliance for a smoother ride by isolating the seat tube from the rest of the frame.
The Domane has an increased head tube length of 3.5cm and a slightly shorter top tube on a 56cm frame. It also has a longer wheelbase, lower bottom bracket, and longer chainstays, which all contribute to its confidence-inspiring ride. The 71.9-degree head tube angle on the Domane is the same as Trek’s Cronus cyclocross bike.
Schleck isn’t the first RadioShack rider to opt for the Domane outside the cobbled classics; Fabian Cancellara also uses it throughout the season.
Whether the effects of his crash require that Schleck ride a bike with more relaxed geometry isn’t exactly clear. But what is certain is that he feels the Domane gives him the best chance to recapture the glory of his former self. Schleck finished no worse than second at the Tour de France between 2009 and 2011, and his performance at the Amgen Tour will be a good indicator of whether he can overcome the setbacks of the past year.
“There’s a light at the end of the tunnel to get Andy on his way back to being Andy,” Roessingh said.
And maybe there’s something to that — Schleck finished with the pack on Sunday’s scorcher of a stage, crossing the line 18th.
VeloNews photo director Brad Kaminski contributed to this report.