Having been awarded the 2010 Tour de France title in a courtroom earlier this month following the CAS ruling on Alberto Contador, Andy Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan) is confident that he can win it on the road in 2012. Much has been made of the fact that Schleck's chances this year will be increased by Contador's absence, but the 26-year-old from Luxembourg reckons he is well placed to win regardless of what anyone else does or doesn't do.
Despite having more time trial kilometres than last year - a discipline that is seen as one of his major weaknesses - Schleck insists that the other stages will suit him even more than in recent years. He also predicted that new team boss Johan Bruyneel, who has masterminded nine wins in the Tour de France in his managerial career, would extract an extra one or two percent from him, which could prove crucial.
"Compared with 2011, we anticipate more stages where I can where I can try something. I am a runner that can resist for 40 to 50 kilometers ahead as I proved when I won Liege-Bastogne-Liege 2009. In this sense, the Tour is perfect for me this year. It will be like running a classic every day," he told Luxembourgish newspaper Wort.
"If Bruyneel helps me progress a little against the clock and some also in the mountains, then I'll be better. But be realistic, this change of director will not improve my performance by 10%. If I gain 1% or 2%, that would be enough to be happy. I have to keep my qualities of climber. If you want to win the Tour, it is in the mountains where I'll make it."