Boosted by the birth of his first child on Thursday, Fränk Schleck will head into the Ardennes Classics with high morale. The Saxo Bank rider also celebrated his 30th birthday on the same day and along with his brother Andy, he will be looking to make it a hat trick of celebrations for the family with a win.
Both Schlecks will compete in Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Last year Andy won Liège, while in 2006 Fränk won his first and only Classic at Amstel.
This year the brothers have split their targets, with Andy aiming for Amstel and Fränk for Liège.
“We’ll see what happens and how the races go. We’ll take it race-by-race but that situation with Andy winning Amstel and me Liège would obviously be a dream,” Fränk told Cyclingnews.
The birth of his daughter was meant to take place in May - after the Ardennes - but with her early arrival Fränk is already beginning to feel the strains of fatherhood.
“I’m a little tired right now as you can expect. I had a rough night and some rough training the day after.
“I’d just fallen asleep when my wife woke me up and we had to drive to hospital and at 6am Leea was born. That’s pretty cool as it’s a double celebration, as I turned 30 too.”
Fränk returned home after the birth and trained for several hours with his brother and teammates Laurent Didier and Jakob Fuglsang. The team aim to ride the last 80 kilometres of Amstel on Saturday and despite missing valuable sleep Fränk says he has good morale. However, the Dutch Classic is a bittersweet race for him. Despite winning in 2006, he was forced out of the race last year after a serious crash which saw him taken to hospital.
“The morale is good, but I don’t know if missing sleep is the perfect preparation. In the last years we were good in the Classics and I hope we’re going to be there again. Andy was looking good in the Tour of the Basque Country and we just want to get the racing started.”
Fränk has not raced since crashing out of the Tour of the Basque Country last week. Although he has trained since he is still suffering from mild back pain.
“I still have a few problems but I should be alright,” he said.