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Schleck: I can compete at Tour

Andy Schleck is adamant he can challenge at this year's Tour de France, despite making a woeful start to the season at the Tour Down Under.

Schleck abandoned the opening race of the UCI WorldTour campaign on Sunday's final stage after suffering a mechanical problem while more than 40 minutes down on the overall leader.

It was the latest low point of a nightmare eight months for the Luxembourger, who broke his pelvis at last summer's Criterium du Dauphine and went on to miss the Tour.

He made a brief comeback at the Tour of Beijing in October, but was overweight and failed to impress.

Although winter training has helped him trim back down, Schleck remains badly short of race fitness and is already lagging behind the likes of Alberto Contador, who won a mountain stage on the way to finishing fourth at last week's Tour de San Luis.

However, the 27-year-old is confident he can bounce back from his troubles and be competitive by the time of the Tour's Grand Depart in Corsica on June 29.

He said: "I have no doubt I have the engine to come back. It is just a matter of working well and doing the right things. I need to be patient.

"My feelings are a lot better. If you have pictures from Beijing, I was basically a fat pig then. I was 4kg more than now."

Schleck's injury last year was compounded by infighting within his RadioShack-Leopard team, the loss of title sponsor Nissan at the end of the season and brother Frank testing positive for the banned diuretic Xipamide during the Tour.