Schleck sacrifices cobblestones in order to catch up on form
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Friday, March 19, 2010

Schleck sacrifices cobblestones in order to catch up on form

by Conal Andrews at 7:25 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

Andy Schleck had originally planned to ride some Belgian one-day races in order to gain experience of racing on the cobblestones prior to this year’s Tour de France. However that plan has been abandoned, and Saxo Bank directeur sportif Kim Andersen has explained the reason why.

Essentially, it’s all about catching up after an early-season characterised by delays due to a knee problem. “I am afraid that if he suddenly races on cobblestones for the first time, he might have to get off after 100 kilometres, and then he loses a total of three days when he could have raced in another event. And that he cannot afford at this time,” explains Andersen to Feltet.dk.

Schleck has struggled with a knee injury since being hit by a car in training during the winter. He had a disrupted race schedule, being forced to change his plans on several occasions, but successfully completed Tirreno-Adriatico this week.

“According to the original plan I was not going to do the Vuelta a Catalunya,” he said, “but after talking to Bjarne [Riis] and Kim [Andersen] we agreed that the race contains a good amount of race kilometres and it will improve my preparations for the Ardennes Classics later on."

That means he will have to drop Dwars door Vlaanderen and Prijs Vlaanderen-Harelbeke from his schedule in order to instead target the Spanish event. The changes will enable him to get several consecutive days’ racing in, building his form.

He will instead practice riding on cobbles in training.

Schleck will however ride later one day events, being determined to repeat a major win of last season.

“I feel I am at the same level now as last year at this time and I am certain that I will be able to defend my title in Liege-Bastogne-Liege,” he said.

This year’s Tour de France includes several cobblestone sections on stage four to Porte du Hainaut.

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