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Andy Schleck to lead RadioShack-Leopard on the Tour

Radioshack Nissan Trek rider Andy Schleck cycles past a banner before the start of the third stage of the Challenge Mallorca cycling tour ne
Radioshack Nissan Trek rider Andy Schleck cycles past a banner before the start of the third stage of the Challenge Mallorca cycling tour ne

PARIS (Reuters) - Luxembourg's former champion Andy Schleck will lead RadioShack-Leopard on the Tour de France even though he has been struggling with his form for a year, the team said on Wednesday.

Since he broke his pelvis in June 2012, Schleck has failed to finish most of the stage races he has entered, although he has shown improvement lately as he finished 40th overall in the Tour of Switzerland last Sunday.

"Nobody in the team ever had doubts about the talent of Andy," team manager Luca Guercilena said in a statement.

"Little by little he has come back to the level where we expect him. The Tour de Suisse encouraged and convinced us to give him the role he deserves and to give him the opportunity to have dedicated riders surrounding and supporting him."

Schleck, however, was not aiming for a podium finish on the Champs Elysees, Guercilena said.

"Of course we don't put pressure on our champion. After the last twelve months it would be unrealistic to expect a podium place. On the other hand, the lack of stress and pressure can be a positive stimulus to a brilliant performance."

Schleck, the 2011 Tour champion, will be helped by the seasoned Andreas Kloeden, who has twice finished on the Tour de France podium.

Schleck's older brother Frank cannot take part as he has been serving a one-year ban for failing a dope test during last year's Tour.

The Tour de France starts on June 29 in Porto Vecchio, Corsica.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Clare Fallon)

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