Schleck on attack in Critérium International, completes first stage race since April 2012
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Monday, March 25, 2013

Schleck on attack in Critérium International, completes first stage race since April 2012

by VeloNation Press at 8:08 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Critérium International, Injury
 
RadioShack Leopard rider inches towards form

Andy SchleckAndy Schleck continued his gradual progress back towards decent racing fitness yesterday when the he went on the attack on the final stage of the Criterium International.

The RadioShack Leopard rider responded to an attack by Europcar trio Thomas Voeckler, Cyril Gautier and Kevin Reza at kilometre 105, joining up with them along with Matthias Frank (BMC Racing Team) and Francis Mourey (FDJ).

While Voeckler, Mourey and Frank and Gautier then pushed ahead on the subsequent climb of the Col de Sainte-Lucie-de-Tallano, and while Schleck went on to be recaptured and finish almost 22 minutes down, the attack suggested that his mental approach to racing and his fitness may be improving.

“I was never dead, just maybe asleep but it was a nice day today,” he said afterwards, when asked if the old Andy Schleck was back. “We went out there today and had a plan to fight, we didn’t want to let Sky have an easy time of it. We had Laurent in the break and then I jumped to the group to try to make the race hard along with Jens.

“In the end it didn’t work but when you come to the finish and you have done something or tried to execute a plan, it’s a good day. I can see that the shape in my legs is coming back. I felt good. I still miss some power so I knew I couldn’t go with the best at the end, so instead I thought I would try to go from far out and make the race hard. I really enjoyed today even though the weather was so bad. I enjoyed riding my bike.”

Schleck recently dropped out of Tirreno Adriatico but yesterday finished the Critérium International in 57th overall. It was his first completed stage race since the Circuit de la Sarthe in April 2012, and shows he is inching forward after his big crash in last year’s Critérium du Dauphiné.

He is next scheduled to do the Volta al Pais Vasco, which begins on April 1 and runs for six days. After that, he is down to ride the Ardennes Classics, with the Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège [April 14th, 17th and 21st] all on his programme.

Team director Kim Andersen took encouragement from what happened. “It was good to see Andy on the attack. I think this shows his training is going in the right direction. In the team meeting Andy was one of four of our riders told to try for the break. This should be good for his morale…at least we hope so.”

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