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Frank Schleck (Leopard Trek) could do little when faced when the might of Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto).
Home race key to build-up for Tour de France
Fränk Schleck will lead a high-calibre Leopard-Trek line-up at the Tour of Luxembourg with the team looking to impress in their home race. Directeur Sportif Kim Andersen explained that the race had extra significance not only to Fränk, but to the squad as a whole.
"This is where our team is living and working," he said from Luxembourg. "This makes the race special for all of us."
Targeting the overall victory in Luxembourg is obviously a priority for the team; but the race will also provide riders with some much-needed racing in their legs before the Tour de France. Likely Tour participants, including Fabian Cancellara, Stuart O’Grady, and Maxime Monfort are all returning from a break in racing after busy spring seasons.
"It’s a good mix. Each of these riders has good racing or training in their legs, and I expect them all to contribute," continued Andersen.
Jens Voigt also returns to racing following an operation to repair his left scaphoid. The German broke the small bone in his left hand after his front tire blew out while riding the Amgen Tour of California. Although the injury usually has a longer rehabilitation time than Voigt has had, the team feels that the German needs the racing if he is to be ready for the Tour de France in July.
"He’s confident that he’s okay and ready to go," Andersen said.
One notable absence from the line-up is Andy Schleck. The Luxembourger raced the Amgen Tour of California with Voigt but according to Andersen, a break from racing until the Tour de Suisse will prove beneficial for the prodigy.
"Andy has gone straight to a training camp in the Alps [from California]," he said. "I think having the Tour of Luxembourg in his program would have been a bit too much."
Fränk Schleck was runner-up in last year’s race and winner in 2009 and Andersen is quietly confident about his team’s chances this year.
"When you focus on the overall, every day is important. First, we have to do a good prologue," explained Andersen. "We’ll have to take things day by day and see what we can do. The riders are motivated, and the fitness is there."
The Tour de Luxembourg starts today with a 2.6km prologue through the streets of Luxembourg’s capital.
Leopard - Trek for Tour of Luxembourg: Fränk Schleck (Lux), Fabian Cancellara (Swi), Linus Gerdemann (Ger), Maxime Monfort (Bel), Martin Mortensen (Den), Stuart O’Grady (Aus), Jens Voigt (Ger), and Jakob Fuglsang (Den).