Gaining in strength and confidence, Andy Schleck believes a Tour de France stage win could be possible
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Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Gaining in strength and confidence, Andy Schleck believes a Tour de France stage win could be possible

by VeloNation Press at 5:48 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
RadioShack Leopard rider accepts podium could be an outside possibility

Andy SchleckHe was mocked on social media for months due to his lack of form after his pelvic fracture suffered last year, but Andy Schleck may well have the last word. The RadioShack Leopard rider, who won the Tour de France in 2010 and also finished second overall in 2009 and 2011, has been getting progressively stronger as the race continues and believes that a stage win and possibly a high overall placing are attainable in the race.

Lean and focussed, Schleck lost time on Saturday when he placed 21st, three minutes 34 seconds behind a runaway Chris Froome (Sky). However he was clearly going better on Sunday, riding well on the climbs, looking capable of attacking and finishing twelfth with the main GC favourites.

He said that this was a very important showing for him. “On Sunday I gained a lot of confidence on the on the stage with five mountains. Quite simply, it is good to know that the work of the past few months was not in vain,” he told Wort.lu. “That it was worth it to hold a lot of training camps and to have been only rarely at home. I literally feel better day by day. This fact makes me confident.

“For my morale, the result is of great importance. I am looking forward to the rest of the 100th Tour de France and not look back. I have crossed off the year 2012.”

Schleck now has several flatter stages plus the time trial ahead of him. His next mountain rendezvous is Mont Ventoux, a climb he rode very well on in 2009, and then next week there will be several days where he could show his ability.

If his form does indeed continue to build in the days ahead, week three of the Tour could see a return to the rider who fought for yellow in the past.

“The intended purpose is first and foremost a stage victory. The overall ranking is irrelevant for the time being,” he said, speaking of his goals. “However, the priorities can also move yet. If make good time to the other favourites, I will eventually realign tactics. But this is still in the future.”

He is currently fifteenth overall, four minutes back. Because of that he’s cautious as regards the general classification, but also doesn’t rule anything out. “If you claim a podium place is actually still within reach...from the current point of view, this seems to be unrealistic to me. But the time intervals are still relatively low, at least for the next few places behind Froome. I'm under no pressure. Actually, I can only gain.”

Wort.lu noted to him that he looked antsy on the final climb, appearing at one point to be on the verge of an attack. He confirmed that this was the case, but said that he ultimately decided to spare his effort.

“This idea went through my head. But I slowed down then, finally,” he said. “From the top to the finish was another 35 km. An attack would probably only mean unnecessary energy consumption. But of course you always want to attack you if you feel strong. My chance will come….it was a decision of the head.”

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