Merckx believes Schleck can win Giro if he commits himself completely to it
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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Merckx believes Schleck can win Giro if he commits himself completely to it

by VeloNation Press at 5:43 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Giro d'Italia
Says Luxembourg rider needs to avoid previous tactical errors if he’s to finally win Tour de France

Eddy MerckxEddy Merckx, the top rider in the history of the sport, has said that he believes that Andy Schleck should return to the race which first highlighted his Grand Tour potential and compete to win there.

The Belgian was asked if he thought first in the Giro for Schleck would be better than another second place in the Tour. “The Giro would be first, but he should really race it. He could win it, but it seems that he will not,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “But Andy must also do the Tour and not with the objective of taking second place.”

The Luxembourg rider has a history of finishing on the second step of the podium; he was runner-up in the 2007 Giro d’Italia, and took the same final placing in the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Tour de France. Some are starting to call him a new Raymond Poulidor, referring to the Frenchman who finished second three times and third five times.

Poulidor was a superb competitor but one who could never win another Grand Tour after taking the 1964 Vuelta a España.

At 26 years of age, Merckx knows that Schleck needs to finally win a Grand Tour, raising his game mentally and physically. He thinks there could be a vital difference to the Leopard Trek rider next year. “With Bruyneel he won’t make more tactical errors like those which cost him the Tour of this year. Such as when he attacked to pursue Contador on the Galibier rather than giving everything on the Alpe d'Huez,” he said.

If Schleck is to finally win the Tour, he’ll have to overcome a number of rivals, including the rider who replaced Contador on the top step of the podium this year. Merckx speaks highly of the 2011 champion Cadel Evans, who himself finally won the race after finishing second twice in the past.

“Cadel's victory in the Tour was a reward for those who understand cycling as the result of training, sacrifice, dependability, cleanliness and consistency,” he said.


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