Schlecks rule out move from Saxo Bank
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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Schlecks rule out move from Saxo Bank

by Conal Andrews at 9:39 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling

The team may have lost several riders amid rumours of financial shortcomings, most recently world championship runner-up Alexandr Kolobnev, but the Schleck brothers Andy and Frank have confirmed to BT that they will stay with Saxo Bank in 2010.

The duo have had several offers, but are going nowhere. “I think the others will ask us, but we prefer to stay with Bjarne,” said Andy, the runner-up in this year’s Tour de France. “We grew up on this team. We feel good and comfortable here, [so] why should we change?”

His elder brother echoes this. “We love being here…we are happy and content being on this team.”

They and Fabian Cancellara are the undisputed stars of the squad, and should once again play an important role in next year’s Spring Classics and the Tour itself. The two brothers will target races such as Amstel Gold, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Flèche Wallonne, while the big Swiss rider is likely to aim for repeat wins in Milan San Remo and Paris-Roubaix.

The Tour of Flanders is also on his wish list, as are the world championships in Australia. He won the time trial and placed fifth in the road race this year and, on a flatter course, may have a better chance if he can get clear of the sprinters.

The Saxo Bank squad had a tighter budget this year due to the sudden loss of co-sponsor IT Factory, a company which collapsed due to the fraud of co-founder Stein Bagger. A number of riders have left including Kolobnev, Kurt Asle Arvesen, Karsten Kroon, Jurgen Van Goolen and Matt Goss, while a smaller number has arrived.

Still, the Schlecks are not worried about their Tour campaign next season.

"We will go to the Tour with an even stronger team next year,” said Frank Schleck. “Matti Breschel will be very dedicated, and Jakob Fuglsang could help us much as the last rider who will be with us on the climbs.”

The Danish squad will also be able to call on the strengths of Chris Anker Sorensen, Jens Voigt and others. The aim will be to have another big season and hope that a new, reliable co-sponsor can be found.



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