Kl”den not good enough for LiŠge

In an uncanny and clearly worrying parallel to Jan Ullrich last year, Andreas Kl”den was pulled from


The sun finally decided to come out at the start of Sunday's Lige-Bastogne-Lige, but for T-Mobile's Andreas Klden dark clouds are gathering above his head. The German runner-up in the 2004 Tour de France has had a bad start to the 2005 season and this week's attempt at changing things haven't worked out, writes Susanne Horsdal.

On Wednesday he started Flche Wallonne but dropped out on the run-in to the last passage of the Mur de Huy, and that led to his German team deciding to replace him for the last of the spring classics, Lige-Bastogne-Lige.

"There was no point in letting him start here. His form is not good enough at the moment, so we've let him go back to train," explained team manager Walter Godefroot at the start in Lige.

In the coming days, Klden will be following a training programme laid down by the team. The big question, though, is whether the German will have sufficient time to get in shape for the Tour. "We hope that we'll have Ullrich, Vinokourov and Klden ready for the Tour, but we'll just have to see," said Godefroot.

The reason for Klden's poor form is, according to the team manager, that the 29 year old has difficulties living up to expectations. "Andreas has problems handling pressure. Psychologically, he's very up and down," explained Godefroot.

A couple of weeks ago Klden started the Tour of the Basque Country and had looked OK on the bike, but dropped out midway through the stage race. So far he has blamed his lack of form on a training camp he did in Tenerife in February. There, he believes, he trained much too much in the mountains at a time in the season when he wasn't ready for it, and instead of helping him it actually drained his strength. Now, the 29 year old's next race is expected to be the Bayern Rundfahrt at the end of May.

Last year it was Jan Ullrich who tried to get his spring season started at Flche Wallonne with a similar result. He also missed Lige for the same reasons as Klden, and subsequently had to force his form for the Tour de France. The omens are not good for Andreas.

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