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Riis says it is time for Schleck to attack

By:
Cycling News
Published:
September 07, 2010, 10:06 BST,
Updated:
September 07, 2010, 11:25 BST
Edition:
Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Race:
Vuelta a España
Luxembourg road champion Fränk Schleck (Saxo Bank)

Luxembourg road champion Fränk Schleck (Saxo Bank)

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Team boss assumes Cancellara will still be with team in 2011

Fränk Schleck has said he has come to the Vuelta a España to win the race. Team owner Bjarne Riis thinks it is time for his rider to live up to his words. He also said that as far as he was concerned, world champion Fabian Cancellara would continue with his team in 2011.

“It's not that hard. If Fränk announced that he will win the Vuelta, then he will have to attack,” Riis told sporten.dk.

“There is no reason to give up. The rankings can change quickly when it is only a couple of minutes. There are still many difficult mountains to come,” Riis said Monday, on the race's first rest day.

Schleck, 30, is still recovering from injuries suffered early in this year's Tour de France, and acknowledged that he is not fully prepared for the challenge. Going into Tuesday's 10th stage, the Luxembourger is in 13th place, 1:47 down.

“I must admit that eight weeks without racing has not been an optimal build-up,” he said. “The rest day came at just the right time, but I think the stage to Calpe on Sunday gave me some confidence, because I did not suffer so much on the ascent.”

Schleck finished that stage in the group with the other favourites for the race title, seven minutes behind stage winner David Lopez of Caisse d'Epargne.

Building a team for 2011

World time trial champion Fabian Cancellara recently said that he was considering several options for the coming season, but according to Riis, the Swiss rider has only one option open to him.  “Fabian Cancellara has a contract for 2011.”

Riis is still trying to put together his squad for next year, which will ride under the name Team Saxo Bank-SunGard. Fränk and Andy Schleck have already announced they will leave the team, as will, among others, Matti Breschel, Jakob Fuglsang, Stuart O'Grady and Jens Voigt. However, he has been able to lure three-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador and three of his helpers away from Team Astana.

He is said to have only 18 riders so far for 2011. “I will not elaborate on who I am looking at or how many riders there are,” Riis said. “But several other riders will come.”

One of those “other riders” is David Tanner, a 25-year-old Australian. Tanner turned pro with Rock Racing in 2009, and currently rides for the Continental -ranked team Fly V Australia.

Tanner, who signed a two-year contract, is an allrounder who last month won the first stage of the Tour of Utah.

“David (Tanner) is a fantastic, mature and powerful allrounder with a winner instinct and team mentality that matches the Team. Saxo Bank-SunGard is basically a good fit for him and I'm looking forward to taking part in developing his big talent,” said Riis.

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