Andy and Fränk Schleck of Team CSC and Filippo Pozzato of Liquigas will challenge returning champion Gregory Rast of Team Astana at the Tour of Luxembourg, running today through Sunday. The younger of the native Luxemburger Schleck brothers, Andy, is the favourite for the title in the five-day race. The race hasn't been won by a Luxembourg rider since 1973.
The race opens Wednesday evening with a 2.4-kilometre prologue, which is expected to go hands-down to the Schlecks' team-mate, Time Trial World Champion Fabian Cancellara. It is followed by four stages over rolling terrain, from 157 to 192 kilometres. Mass sprint finishes are expected to go to Juan José Haedo (Team CSC) or Francesco Chicchi (Liquigas).
Five ProTour teams will be at the start: Astana, Rabobank, Team CSC, Crédit Agricole and Liquigas. They are joined by Elk Haus-Simplon, Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner, Agritubel, Preti Mangimi, Skil-Shimano, Benfica, Cycle Collstrop and Differdange Apiflo Vancances.
Differdange and Preti Mangimi are both Luxembourg-based teams. The latter will be sending Salvatore Commesso and Serhiy Honchar, who was released by T-Mobile Team last year following "irregular blood values." (SW)