Schleck still in pain

By Hedwig Kröner in Sisteron CSC's Fränk Schleck is quietly preparing his season's first objectives,...

By Hedwig Kröner in Sisteron

CSC's Fränk Schleck is quietly preparing his season's first objectives, the Spring Classics. After finishing tenth in the Tour du Haut-Var, the 2006 Amstel Gold Race winner had been wanting to show more of his rising form in Paris-Nice, but it was not to be. The rider from Luxembourg crashed right on the first stage of the race, which prevented him from living up to his role as a race favourite.

"I've had better days," Schleck told Cyclingnews at the start of stage five in Althen-des-Paluds, even though the Provence sun raised temperatures to almost 20 degrees Celsius. But the 28 year-old still felt the pain from his crash under the rain a few days ago. "Now, I just have to get over these last few days. Yesterday [on the stage to Mont Ventoux, where he finished an impressive fifth - ed.], I felt quite good, even though I was still in pain. But it was good for my head, as I know have to get over this mentally, too."

Fortunately, his injuries will not keep him from performing for a long time, and he he will be back to a 100 percent of his abilities in short-term. Schleck was confident that "it's going to heal fairly well. The problems are only muscular. There is nothing broken or torn." But the early crash made him lose a lot of time on the general classification, and shattered his initial ambitions for Paris-Nice.

"If I hadn't crashed, things would have been quite different," he explained. "I don't say that I would have won this race, but I could have raced [for] the podium."

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