Vuelta a España: Team Saxo Bank suggests Frank Schleck will be team leader
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Friday, August 27, 2010

Vuelta a España: Team Saxo Bank suggests Frank Schleck will be team leader

by Conal Andrews at 4:25 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
 
Luxembourg champion determined to bounce back from Tour disappointment

Frank SchleckOn the eve of the start of the Vuelta a España, the Saxo Bank team has outlined its goals for the race and talked about the roles it feels its riders will play over the next three weeks.

“We´re coming to Spain with a really dynamic team of riders,” promises directeur sportif Bradley McGee. “We have JJ (Haedo) for the sprints, Andy (Schleck) and Fränk (Schleck) for the climbs and Gustav (Larsson) and Fabian (Cancellara) for the pacemaking, along with a good combination of experienced and young riders.”

Of those it is the eldest of the Schleck brothers who the team appears to see being the main challenger. There are two reasons for this: the first is that Andy Schleck went flat out to finish second in the Tour de France, and so he will be unsure how his legs will be when doing two Grand Tours in a row.

The second reason is that Frank has a point to prove; he won the Tour de Suisse, showing a vastly improved time trial ability, and appeared set to have a very strong Tour de France until he crashed out on the cobblestones of stage three. Now fully recovered from his fractured collarbone, the newlywed rider wants to try to take his first Grand Tour title.

“ Naturally, Fränk is highly motivated to do well and obviously he's going for the overall classification,” said McGee, nominating another rider who he feels will be up there. “Gustav [Larsson] has been showing great form as well winning Tour du Limousin and I wouldn't be surprised at all if he did well in the GC either.”

Denis Menchov is another rider who is expected to challenge, the Rabobank competitor having won the race twice in the past and finishing third in this year’s Tour, just behind Andy Schleck. He is likely to lose time tomorrow to the Saxo Bank riders, as the presence of competitors like world time trial champion Cancellara means that the Danish squad will be one of the favourites for the 16.5 kilometre team time trial in Seville.

It will comprise the aforementioned Schleck brothers, Cancellara and Larsson plus Kasper Klostergaard, Stuart O'Grady, Juan José Haedo, Dominik Klemme and Anders Lund.

Even if Menchov loses a little time there, he is a proven winner in the solo race against the clock, though, and will come back at the Schleck brothers in the stage 17 time trial at Peñafiel. His goal therefore will be to match the Luxembourg riders in the high mountains.

McGee said that there will be plenty of those, and they will pay a crucial role in determining the final outcome. “The course this year is really tough. It's not quite the usual Vuelta mountain stage profiles,” he said. “This year, the riders are challenged with far more climbs on each mountain stage and only riders with great endurance will able to stay fit and ready all the way to Madrid.”

The race will reach a climax the day before hitting the Spanish capital when the riders slug it out on the viciously tough Bola del Mundo climb.

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Vuelta a España:

1, 28.08: Sevilla -> Sevilla (TTT) 16,5 km
2, 29.08: Alcalá de Guadaíra –> Marbella 173 km
3, 30.08: Marbella -> Málaga 156 km
4, 31.08: Málaga -> Valdepeñas de Jaén 177 km
5, 01.09: Guadix -> Lorca 194 km
6, 02.09: Caravaca de Cruz -> Murcia 144 km
7, 03.09: Murcia –> Orihuela 170 km
8, 04.09: Villena -> Xorret del Catí 188,8 km
9, 05.09: Calpe -> Alcoy 187 km
10, 07.09: Tarragona -> Vilanova i la Geltrú 173,7 km
11, 08.09: Vilanova i la Geltrú -> Andorra (Vallnord / sector Pal) 208 km
12, 09.09: Andorra la Vella –> Lleida 175 km
13, 10.09: Rincón de Soto -> Burgos 193,7 km
14, 11.09: Burgos –> Peña Cabarga 178,8 km
15, 12.09: Solares -> Lagos de Covadonga 170 km
16, 13.09: Gijón –> Cotobello 179,3 km
17, 15.09: Peñafiel -> Peñafiel (ITT) 46 km
18, 16.09: Valladolid -> Salamanca 153 km
19, 17.09: Piedrahita –> Toledo 200 km
20, 18.09: San Martín de Valdeiglesias -> Bola del Mundo 168,8 km
21, 19.09: San Sebastián de los Reyes –> Madrid 100 km
 

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