Vuelta a España: Fränk Schleck's Grand Tour
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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Vuelta a España: Fränk Schleck's Grand Tour

by Samuel Morrison at 6:34 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
Luxembourg's unlucky star attempts second Grand Tour in Spain

Fränk Schleck's eyes look ahead to Madrid, where the Vuelta a España ends September 19 and where he will have a chance to complete his first Grand Tour of the year.

His last Grand Tour, the Tour de France, came to an abrupt end on the cobblestone roads of northern France when he crashed and fractured his collarbone. In Spain, starting last night on the warm roads of Sevilla, he aims for redemption, a win.

"I want to race for the general classification. If I have as good legs as I did at the Tour de Suisse, I can win the Vuelta a España," Schleck told Denmark's BT.

Schleck has only raced once since he left the Tour de France, two weeks ago at the Vattenfall Cyclassics in Germany. He skipped the Tour du Limousin because he had to be ready for his wedding last Saturday.

Team Saxo Bank has placed its confidence in Schleck, who has twice finished fifth at the Tour de France and this summer won the Tour de Suisse. He has the support of all eight of his team-mates, including brother Andy, who finished second at the Tour de France.

"We are always captains together and Andy is always to deliver a surprise. I'll rely on him in the mountains," said Fränk.

"I've only done one race. It would have been good to participate in the Tour du Limousin, but it could not fit in with my wedding on August 21. There are more important things in life than cycling, and it was a lovely day.

"I am one hundred per cent focused on my goals. I have trained a lot behind a motorbike, and after four or five days in the Vuelta I will be ready."

Fränk and the rest of Saxo Bank proved to be ready last night when the finished third in the opening team time trial. They lost 12 seconds to HTC-Columbia over the 13-kilometre stage in Sevilla.

"I'm quite happy about the result and about putting Fränk in a good position in the overall rankings," said sports director, Brad McGee. "Most importantly, I made sure not to put any pressure on the shoulders of the riders in order to get through the course without any accidents. There's no doubt, Fränk is very motivated and we're all looking forward to take on the race."

The race continues today with its first road stage, 173.7 kilometres to Marbella. Tomorrow, the riders face their first mountain, a category one climb on the way to the stage finish in Malaga.


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