Vuelta a España: Schleck hoping to ride better from this point on
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Monday, September 6, 2010

Vuelta a España: Schleck hoping to ride better from this point on

by Shane Stokes at 9:53 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
Luxembourg rider said he felt stronger yesterday, suggests form is coming

Frank SchleckFrank Schleck hasn’t ridden as he wanted to thus far in this Vuelta a España, but believes that his form is on the up and that he could be a factor for the rest of the race.

The Team Saxo Bank rider is 13th overall, one minute 47 seconds off the race lead. He lost the bulk of that time on Saturday’s stage, dropping one minute seven seconds to Igor Anton (Euskaltel Euskadi), Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo) on the climb of the Alto Xorret de Catì. However he felt stronger yesterday, and is optimistic about what lies ahead.

“Yesterday’s stage has created some damages,” he said at the end of stage nine, speaking about Saturday. “It’s ok that I was disappointed about losing time yesterday, isn’t it? I have to admit that after eight weeks without racing, I couldn’t do better. I must be honest with myself.

“The rest day tomorrow comes at the right time for me. However, today’s stage has brought me the confidence back. I was riding well. I didn’t have any problems in the hills like yesterday.”

The 30 year old took his best win earlier this year when he was first in the Tour de Suisse. He showed solid time trial ability there, making up for previous weaknesses in the past, and went to the Tour de France determined to perform strongly. However he crashed out on the cobblestones of stage three, departing the race with a broken collarbone and requiring an operation to put things right.

The lack of racing since then is, as he suggests, a good reason why he is lacking a little sharpness. He’s got a week and a half of racing in thus far, though, and could bounce back well when the race resumes tomorrow.

The tenth stage from Tarragona to Vilanova i la Geltrú includes the first category Alto del Rat Penat climb, but it is followed by a descent to the finish. If he has the legs, it’s more likely that he will make his move on Wednesday’s summit finish to Andorra, where all the big guns will slug it out in the battle for the red jersey. After that stage, he will have a better idea as to whether or not he can still win this race.


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