Schleck increasingly active in California, signs his condition is building
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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Schleck increasingly active in California, signs his condition is building

by Shane Stokes at 11:12 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of California
 
2010 Tour winner still has work ahead to return to old form

Andy SchleckHaving shown signs of improving form in the Tour of California but dropping over nine minutes on Monday’s second stage, Andy Schleck was more prominent yesterday. While he is clearly still some way off his top condition, the RadioShack Leopard rider has made slow but steady progress in recent months.

He was active from early on during yesterday’s third stage, going clear initially as part of a large group and then later pushing on in a smaller bunch.

Speaking afterwards, he made clear that it was his disappointing performance on the summit finish to Palm Springs on day two which gave him the incentive to attack.

“It was for sure that today was going to be a hard day, especially with the crosswinds. We were twenty guys in the front with four from our team so it was an okay position for us. The only problem was that [RadioShack Leopard team-mate Matthew] Busche was not there. So we didn’t insist on staying there and it came back on the climb.”

Undeterred, he tried again. “After that I went with a group of four. When we were only given four-and-a-half minutes we knew it might be ‘mission impossible’ to stay away but we were excited to go really hard then. At times we would gain more time before they would take it back and I think we surprised some of them.”

Schleck said that he felt strong on the final mountain but with a strong headwind he didn’t see the point in attacking alone. And, although they were brought back, he sees the stage in a positive light. “In the end it was good training,” he explained, before indicating that he might have another go before the Tour of California ends on Sunday. “There are more days coming up. Tomorrow is another sprint, then the time trial and on Saturday the climb.”

Schleck has struggled since he crashed badly in last year’s Critérium du Dauphiné, fracturing his pelvis. After a long period off the bike, a spate of race retirements followed but he has stepped things up of late.

The Luxembourg rider still has considerable work ahead, though, as his performance on stage two shows he is still some way off the form which he displayed in the past in the Tour de France and other events.

The Tour of California continues today with a lumpy 134.5 kilometre race from Santa Clarita to Santa Barbara.

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