Andy Schleck seeks improvement in time trial ability

Tour de France victory depends on prowess against the clock

Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek) finished the Tour de France on July 24 as runner-up for the third straight year and told Belgian media today, prior to the start of a derny criterium in Antwerp, that victory in the French Grand Tour hinges on bolstering his time trialing ability.

"If I want to one day win the Tour de France, I need to get better against the clock," said Schleck. "We conducted tests with the team to improve my performance against the clock, but it was clearly not enough. In the end, I lost the Tour on the second to last day."

The 26-year-old Luxembourger started the penultimate stage, a 42.5km individual time trial, in the yellow jersey but was unable to defend his top GC position against Cadel Evans (BMC). Schleck started the 20th stage with a 53-second advantage over Evans, but ended the day in second place overall, 1:34 behind the Australian.

Schleck is at home on the high mountains in the Alps and Pyrenees and hopes to strike a balance between his climbing and time trialing. "I also want to gain power, but I have to pay attention to that," said Schleck. "Increased muscle mass will mean that I will be heavier. I feel it in the climbs. I'll have to find a good compromise."

The derny event was a new experience for the Luxembourg road champion. "I have no racing experience behind a derny. On the track, yes, but not on the road. This is something special, I am looking forward to it."

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