Schleck planning on heading to Australia early to build form for Santos Tour Down Under
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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Schleck planning on heading to Australia early to build form for Santos Tour Down Under

by VeloNation Press at 2:26 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour Down Under
RadioShack Nissan rider determined to hit ground running in 2013

andy SchleckDetermined to get his comeback season off to a good start, Andy Schleck will travel early to Australia in order to log extra kilometres prior to the beginning of the Santos Tour Down Under on January 20th.

The RadioShack Nissan rider hardly raced in the second half of 2012 due to a bad crash he suffered in the Critérium du Dauphiné and, lacking the form he otherwise would have had, has been working hard in recent weeks to be ready.

He said that he had already put the tough season out of his mind and is ready for a new start. “For me personally, just to show that I am back again,” said the Luxembourg rider to The Advertiser, talking about his goals.

“My last race was the Tour of Beijing and now I go for a new season, a new start. We've been training in the south of Spain preparing for Down Under and we'll come with quite big ambitions.

“We are coming quite early to do a training camp and get used to the heat and time (difference).”

Schleck had a slow start to the 2012 season, being some way off his best form through the Spring Classics and on to the Dauphiné. He was dropped on the climbs there but persisted, saying he was determined to race hard and that there was still time enough to get into proper shape before the Tour de France.

However a heavy crash in the Dauphiné time trial saw him fracture his pelvis, then miss the Tour de France, the Olympic road race, the Vuelta a España and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge as a result.

He eventually returned to competition in the Binche-Tournai-Binche Memorial Frank Vandenbroucke on October 2nd, but did not finish. He went on to ride the Tour of Beijing in China, completing four stages before pulling out on the fifth.

Schleck ended up racing only 28 days in 2012, making it both his quietest and his worst season since turning professional. It was a tough blow for the 2010 Tour de France winner, but he said that he was determined to turn things around.

Schleck explained in October that he would continue to train right through the winter, stating that there was no need to take a post-season break as he had not raced in several months.

He has also decided to start racing in January, with his participation in the Santos Tour Down Under marking his earliest-ever start to the season. It contrasts with his 2010 beginning in Tirreno-Adriatico, and his February 7th [2011] and February 5th [2012] starts in the Challenge Mallorca races.

He said that his tough year would have no impact on his self-belief going forward. “I have already forgotten about it,” he said, referring to that season. “I can learn from it and go with good ambitions in 2013 and show again that I am a professional cyclist and not a couch potato.”

His team-mates for the Santos Tour Down Under are yet to be revealed.

The dinner will be held at the Adelaide Convention Centre on January 26.

Other big names will also take part in the race, including world champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team), top sprinter Andre Greipel (Lotto – Belisol), former Tour de France stage winner Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky) and the 2012 winner, Simon Gerrans (Orica GreenEdge).


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