Will the Schlecks double in the 2010 Tour de France?
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Friday, February 05, 2010

Will the Schlecks double in the 2010 Tour de France?

by Bjorn Haake at 12:09 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

Fränk Schleck thinks he can win the Tour de France this year. He isn't the only one, as brother Andy also believes his older brother is capable of winning the three-week Grand Tour in France. To make things more complicated, both also believe that Andy can win it, but fortunately their brotherly bond is so strong that one feels good about wins from the other.

Fränk talked about the upcoming season in an interview with French paper Le Quotidien, where he acknowledged his brother's tip for the Tour. "I like it that Andy never does his calculations without me," Fränk said. "I agree with him, I feel that I can do better than last year [where he finished the race in fifth -ed.]"

This year he eyes the podium. "And if the podium, then why not win it? Obviously, I'd be very happy if Andy would be in a position to win it. Of course in cycling, you have to be lucky and there can always be an adversary. At any rate, Andy and I will give our maximum."

In order to get ready, the first race, the Mallorca Challenge, is fast approaching. After some hard training, the team had a rest day on Thursday. "We have really worked hard so far," Fränk said. The day before, they rode 200km. "On Friday, we will continue, five hours are scheduled. Three hours on Saturday and then the first race."

Starting the season

Fränk is a tad nervous for the first outing. "On the one hand I am afraid of not going well in races yet. Fortunately at Fuerteventura, we had very good training sessions. But we know the new season starts and there is always some extra excitement. Naturally, the doubt settles in a bit. You tell yourself, am I going alright? Am I not going alright? In Mallorca, I am not riding to win, although in cycling you never know."

Fränk has worked out hard during the winter, and has plenty of motivation. "Martine and I can't wait to see the little one born. But last year I also had a knee surgery and had to stop racing early, in September. Another reason why I am so motivated now."

His training hasn't changed much compared to last winter. "Even if it was difficult, you have to adapt. I was able to start my training earlier. We will see if I am capable of getting the same results as last year."

One year wiser, he can also draw on additional experience. "I learned a lot in 2009. Especially that Lance Armstrong races very well tactically. I also learned about Alberto Contador, who races differently and is not unbeatable. Above all, it is better to have friends than enemies in the peloton. Certainly there are competitors, but it is good to be respected."

He also learned from his younger brother. "He knows to always stay calm in a race. When I watched him, I understood that if you stay calm, you can't do anything but the maximum in the race."

Fränk admits he is quite impatient at this point in the season. "I really like to know where I stand, to know where I need to focus my training on." This helps him progress, something he is worried for himself, but not the team. "I have the impression that we [as a team] are even better than last year. I'll give two names: Matti Breschel and Jakob Fuglsang. Matti will be super in the Flandrian classics, Jakob will at our sides in the Ardennes."

Always the same team

Fränk spent the eight years of his career with the same team of Bjarne Riis. "I am really content. I was able to grow here, progress quietly. I'd be content if that would still continue past this season." Saxo Bank will stop its sponsorship at the end of the season and Bjarne Riis is looking for a new sponsor. "I hope this can be done."

Whatever happens, Fränk never wants to race against his brother. "It's certain that Andy and I will always stay together. For now, we race bikes and that should not bring us against each other. We will re-discuss after the Tour, that's how long our contracts run."

With his current team, Fränk hopes for the same successful season as last year. "Since 2005, I haven't stopped achieving good results. But this time, I really like to be successful at Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Our child is due ten days later. And of course it'd be good to win the Tour or be on the podium. Last year, I was fifth and only 40 seconds off the podium. But let's not forget that there will be new riders and Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador will be there."

There is another race that Fränk enjoys, Paris-Nice. "I have multiple podium places there and last year I finished second. I like this race and I am always doing well. But watch out, I want to peak for Liège-Bastogne-Liège, so there is no point of being in top form yet in March. I will be very motivated, but not go maximum effort."

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