Schleck hopes to seize opportunities in Tour's Colmar stage

Saxo Bank gains advantage with Leipheimer's abandon

Andy Schleck and his Saxo Bank team face the first mountain stage in five days of the Tour de France today. At eighth overall, Schleck could take time from his rivals over the day's final climb of Col du Firstplan.

"If there are opportunities we will have to take them," he said. "We've done two weeks into of the Tour de France, people start getting tired and maybe will have to take that opportunity."

Saxo Bank may seek to take advantage of Astana's overnight loss of Levi Leipheimer. He crashed in the final three kilometres yesterday with Cadel Evans. X-rays revealed a broken scaphoid bone in his hand, and he will have surgery to repair the bone today.

Leipheimer was fourth overall and one of the key helpers for Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong, who sit second and third overall. The team still has Andreas Klöden, now moving into fifth overall.

"I saw Levi crash yesterday in the finale, it was a stupid crash – shit happens. Of course it will weaken their team, but they are still strong and have three guys for the climbs," said Schleck.

Saxo Bank had a similar loss on Wednesday's stage to Saint-Fargeau. Norway's Kurt-Asle Arvesen crashed and fractured his collarbone.

Schleck's key supporter in the mountains is his older brother, Fränk. Andy is 1:49 back behind race leader Rinaldo Nocentini, Frank 12th at 2:25 back.

The two were principle riders in the 2008 Tour de France. Fränk held the leader's yellow jersey and Andy won the young riders' classification. The team won the race overall with former rider Carlos Sastre.

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