Andy Schleck believes he can win the 2011 Tour de France after finishing runner-up in the past two years — whether reigning champion Alberto Contador is there or not.
“I’m not the one who should say so, but if you look at the standings of the last years, it’s normal that I am considered the favorite,” the Luxembourg rider told Spanish sports newspaper AS Tuesday.
Schleck has finished second to Contador in the Tour in the past two years.
But the Spaniard is now facing a possible one-year ban from the sport after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs at last year’s event, although he has vowed to appeal.
Andy Schleck starts this year with his new Team Leopard-Trek, backed up by the likes of brother Fränk as well as experienced riders Fabian Cancellara, Stuart O’Grady and Jens Voigt.
Asked by AS if he would still be the favorite if Contador competes, the 25-year-old Schleck replied: “I think so. I don’t know what will happen with Contador. But I don’t believe it would change anything if he takes part or now. I’m going to concentrate on the Tour and not the other opponents.”
He added, “If Contador is there he also undoubtedly would be a favorite.”