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Schleck to prepare for Tour with Spring Classics

By:
Susan Westemeyer
Published:
October 26, 2009, 12:58 GMT,
Updated:
October 26, 2009, 17:39 GMT
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Monday, October 26, 2009
Saxo Bank's Andy Schleck is a bona fide star after the Tour.

Saxo Bank's Andy Schleck is a bona fide star after the Tour.

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Working to improve in mountains and time trials in order to win the Tour

Andy Schleck of Team Saxo Bank will ride the Spring Classics in preparation for the Tour de France, and once again skip the Giro d'Italia. The Luxembourger will look to improve on his second place finish this year, saying “If I can finish second, then I think I can win.”

His spring plan includes Liège-Bastogne-Liège, where he will look to defend his 2009 victory and the Amstel Gold Race. “Also for the first time, the Ronde van Vlaanderen, to prepare for the paves that await us in the third stage of the Tour. It is an area where you can't win the Tour, but you can lose it,” Schleck told the Spanish newspaper El País.

The 24-year-old said that in order to win, “I need a strong team and to improve on the climbs, because the mountain is where you can lose the Tour within five minutes.”

He also knows that he needs to work on his time trialing abilities, as the penultimate stage of the 2010 Tour is a 50km time trial which could be decisive. “Mental training... I've worked hard with Bobby Julich,” Schleck said, noting, “I am improving every year and I'm not so bad. I'll never be a Cancellara, but I can improve a lot.”

Being able to ride alongside of older brother Fränk is “a luxury,” he said. “With him I have confidence that I do not have with anyone else. Who else will say, “you jerk, what have you done with your shoes,” and things like that.”

Schleck gets along with many of his teammates, but admitted that former teammate Carlos Sastre was not one of them. “I never understood what his problem was. He won the Tour and everyone who watched it on TV and knows a bit about cycling realised what we sacrificed for him. And he went out in the press and said things that made no sense, like we did not want to work for him.” Saying, “We were one hundred percent for him, working for him,” he concluded that the Spaniard, now with Cervélo TestTeam, “has a problem with his head.”

Comparing himself to a football player, he noted that “only” 70,000 people can fit into a stadium. “In a Tour there are many more.” Another advantage of cycling, Schleck said, was that “football gives fame and money. I do not like the fame, but I do like the money.”

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