Andy Schleck flies to the white jersey

By Jean-François Quénet in Genova When Fränk Schleck became a world class professional rider despite...

By Jean-François Quénet in Genova

When Fränk Schleck became a world class professional rider despite limited success in the French amateur ranks with UC Châteauroux, many experts like French cycling guru Cyrille Guimard warned that his younger brother Andy at VC Roubaix would eventually be an even greater champion.

And despite being five years younger, Andy Schleck could well be making Guimard's prediction come true after finishing third on the Stage 10 ascent to the Sanctuary of Nostra Signora della Guardia.

"It's my first time up there with the best climbers," said Schleck. "I wanted to attack and I couldn't wait any longer. I was in very good shape and could see that Damiano Cunego for example was at his limit. Maybe I could have won the stage. This morning I told my directeur sportif: 'If I feel good, I'll try something on that hill.' I've kept to my word."

Schleck might very well have won the stage but also admitted: "Di Luca was the strongest. I've not given it everything. I still had some resources left but the 400 last metres were just too much for me. I'm happy anyway."

The Luxemburger, who doesn't turn 22 until a week after the Giro ends, wasn't a designated leader at CSC but is now the third placed rider overall - after Di Luca and Franco Pellizzotti - who hasn't gained time via a long breakaway.

After experiencing his first Grand Tour podium as the Giro's best young rider, Schleck intends to keep hold of the jersey that's been reintroduced to the race for the first time since it was won by Evgeni Berzin in 1994. "I'll take the Giro day by day but now my goal will be to defend the white jersey," he said.

However, the youngster will not be counting on support from Fabian Cancellara as the World Time Trial Champion has said he plans to quit the race after Stage 12. But now the David Zabriske is no longer in the GC picture after losing eight minutes on Stage 10, the younger of the Schleck brothers is CSC's best bet for overall honours.

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