Saxo Bank confident in Haedo as victory search continues
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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Saxo Bank confident in Haedo as victory search continues

by VeloNation Press at 5:08 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

With just three wins thus far, it’s been a lean early-season for the Saxo Bank team. Yesterday JJ Haedo went close to increasing that tally when he finished a close second to Mark Cavendish (HTC Columbia) on stage two of the Volta a Catalunya.

A win would have been a good boost for the team, both in terms of that slow start and also because its top GC rider Andy Schleck was unable to start due to stomach problems. Directeur sportif Kim Anderson hopes that Haedo will have a chance to pick one up before the ProTour race ends on Sunday.

”The stage formed as predicted with that single exception that JJ didn't take the win,” he said. “He actually did a fantastic sprint and he came closer to Cavendish as they approached the finish line. He was close to surprising everyone. It is a good start for us and today's result naturally leaves us hope for more.”

The race will continue today with lumpy 185.9 kilometre stage from La Vall d'En Bas to La Seu d'Urgell. It contains three second category climbs and so Haedo might have to wait for his next chance.

Andersen said that Schleck should recover quickly from his latest problem. “Andy (Schleck) had a rough night with stomach pains and we chose to keep him from racing. He will be back on the bike tomorrow,” he said.

The Tour de France runner-up expressed his regret on Twitter, but said that he was not losing heart. “I am very disappointed to have to withdraw from the Vuelta Catalunya. I was having gastro-intestinal problems since before Milan-Sanremo. I realise that I can’t chance the current situation, but am still optimistic for the future races. I am confident for my main goals this year.”

Team Saxo Bank is currently searching for sponsors for the 2011 season. Concern has been expressed by some commentators at its slow start, but the owner Bjarne Riis is confident that the riders will start landing victories soon.

It will be pinning a lot of hope on world time trial champion Fabian Cancellara, who is targeting Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders. If Andy Schleck is not fit enough to challenge for a repeat victory in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, it will look to his brother Frank to step up and aim for the top spot. He is a past winner of Amstel Gold and has the attributes needed to take Liège.

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