The 2011 season can't start soon enough for Fränk Schleck and his new team, the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project. “We can't wait until things finally start and we can finally do what which we do best – that is, ride races.”
Schleck and his younger bother Andy have just returned from the first team get-together in Crans Montana, Switzerland, where “the main thing was to get to know each other better. We were all together, the 25 riders and the whole staff, everybody who will be working together in the future,” he told the Luxembourger newspaper Tageblatt.
In assembling that team of 25, the Schlecks were “of course” consulted. “But of course it wasn't just about putting together a Tour de France team. It is not a 'Team Schleck'. We wanted a team with all-rounders, with multi-talented riders. One that would be good in both the Ardennes Classics as well as those in Flanders. That's why we have Daniele Bennati and Fabian Cancellara.”
It was also important to pick out riders who would fit in, “fine and sympathetic guys”, he said, specifically mentioning Germans Linus Gerdemann and Fabian Wegmann. “They are really very, very good guys.”
Former Saxo Bank teammate Stuart O'Grady will be “capitaine de route”, while Jens Voigt “is just as important, we understand each other immensely well.” But also newcomers such as Bennati, Brice Feillu, and Maxime Monfort are eagerly awaited.
The 30 year old says he is convinced the team has found the right mixture. “From a sporting perspective, we are already number one on paper. But what it says on paper doesn't count, we have to be a 'bande de copains' (bunch of friends - ed). And we are, we noticed that in Crans Montana.”
Which means that it won't be long until the team brings in its first victory. “I'm not worried about that. They will come.”
Don't look for the Schleck brothers to bring in early wins, though. They will, as usual, skip the Tour Down Under. He didn't give any more details of their preparations, but noted, “why should we make any big changes from the previous years? There are no big mysteries about this.”
He did hold on to one mystery, however, the name of the team next year. After Jakob Fuglsang told Cyclingnews it would be called Team Leopard, Schleck said simply, “I like Team Lëtzebuerg'.” The team's name and jersey will be officially unveiled at the team's presentation on January 5.