Tour de France: Schlecks become first pair of brothers on the podium, but miss the top spot
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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Tour de France: Schlecks become first pair of brothers on the podium, but miss the top spot

by Bjorn Haake at 3:30 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Andy and Fränk have no regrets after possibly best-ever races against the clock

andy schleckAndy Schleck took over the yellow jersey in the Tour de France yesterday, after two very good rides in the Alps. But the joy over the lead did not last very long, 58'11 minutes to be precise. That is the time Schleck needed to ride the 42.5-kilometer time trial course in Grenoble. His brother Fränk was three seconds slower. Both Luxemburgers end on the podium in Paris, the first time brothers have accomplished that in the Tour de France.

Before the stage start, the race seemed to be a close affair. "I was really focused on this time trial," said Andy on the team's website. "I realized the full importance of it. We did the reconnaissance this morning and remained committed to leaving everything out on the course."

But with Evans on superform and besting his Critérium du Dauphiné time from June by 1'07, the Schlecks stood no chance. "Cadel did the time trial of his life, and he deserves to win the Tour," said Andy. "We know we did everything we could do in the mountains and today. Both Fränk and I probably did the best time trials we have ever done, but it wasn't good enough. We don't have any regrets in this perspective."

Andy will finish second for the third straight year. "It's disappointing in a way, but if you look at the size and importance of the Tour, it's a real honor to be second, especially when your brother is one step down," Andy said. "We would have hoped to have one Schleck on top of the podium, but we're proud of each other and proud of ourselves." At the beginning of the week, Andy predicted only one of the Schlecks on the podium, but on the top spot.

The brothers, who are very close to each other and never could imagine racing on different teams, have achieved a beautiful result for the family. "Andy and I have been talking about this for years now," said Fränk. "We've never been this close. We made the plan before we came to France that we would leave France three weeks later without any regret." While not winning is a disappointment, they will stand on the podium on Sunday in Paris. "We have accomplished that. We knew from the start that there was more than just Alberto Contador as a rival. We knew Evans would prove to be a true competitor and a tough guy to beat."

Leopard Trek was committed to yellow and getting two riders from the same team on the podium is a feat in itself. The Schlecks won't give up to achieve their dream, a yellow jersey in Paris. "The second and third place is even more worthy of celebration because we did it from a complete new team," said Fränk. "We're proud of what we achieved with this team and this staff. If I had to summarize this whole experience with one word, it would be 'proud.' We're proud and happy."


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