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Andy Schleck, right, is presented with the yellow jersey from the 2010 Tour de France. On stage with Schleck are (l-r) five-time Tour champion Bernard Hinault, Luxembourg's sports minister Romain Schneider and Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme.
Luxembourger receives belated reward in hometown
Andy Schleck was presented with the yellow jersey of winner of the 2010 Tour de France at a ceremony in his hometown of Mondorf, Luxembourg on Tuesday. Schleck had finished second behind Alberto Contador, but was awarded the race after the Spaniard was stripped of his title following a positive test for clenbuterol.
News of Contador’s positive test was first made public in September 2010, but the lengthy legal process was only resolved in February of this year, with the Court of Arbitration for Sport disqualifying him from the race and handing him a two-year suspension.
Second in the Tour in 2009 and 2011, Schleck is still waiting to win a stage race on the road, and he admitted that he did not feel like the victor of the 2010 Tour.
“It’s nice to accept this jersey, but for me it doesn’t change anything – it’s not like a win. It’s not the same sensation as climbing on the podium,” Schleck said, according to AFP.
Schleck received the jersey from Tour de France race director Christian Prudhomme in front of an audience of 150 invited guests, including RadioShack-Nissan manager Johan Bruyneel.
“I can only hope that this jersey will lead to others. And I think there will be others,” Prudhomme said.
It was the second time in Prudhomme’s tenure that such a ceremony was required. In October 2007, Oscar Pereiro was presented with the maillot jaune of the previous year’s Tour, which had been stripped from Floyd Landis after he returned a positive test for synthetic testosterone.
Schleck is currently preparing for an assault at the 2012 Tour de France, and Prudhomme insisted that the Luxembourger could aspire to overall victory in spite of a route that seems weighted in favour of rouleurs.
“Everybody claims that the 2012 Tour isn’t suited to Andy, but I’m convinced to the contrary,” Prudhomme said. “In its history, it’s been common to have Tours with 100km of time trials. It’s only in the past few years that it hasn’t been the case. If Andy is aggressive, he’ll have his chance, I’m sure.”
For his part, Schleck pointed out that the Tour’s first sorties into the mountains in the Vosges and the Jura could prove more difficult than anticipated.
“I’ve just come from reconnoitering the stages in the Vosges, Jura and Alps, and I have to say that it will be a lot harder than I had imagined when I saw the map of the course,” he said.