Small Luxembourg team laying low

Andy Schleck and Kirchen to lead four-man squad at road race

Luxembourg is sending only a small team of four to the World Championships, but it is led by two big names – Andy Schleck and Kim Kirchen. Schleck looks to finish the race for the first time, while Kirchen hopes to rescue a season full of injuries and sickness.

Schleck, 24, started the Worlds road race the last two years, but has never finished the event. Last year in Varese he made it almost to the end, but the race proved to be "one lap to long for me,” he told the Luxembourg newspaper Tageblatt.

Up until that point the Saxo Bank rider had ridden in support of his elder brother Fränk, who finished the race as fourth. The elder Schleck is recuperating from knee surgery and does not participate in  this year's World Championships.

“It would have been nice if Fränk could start, but his health is more important,” the younger brother noted.

Andy Schleck abandoned the Vuelta a España during the eighth stage with stomach problems. To prepare for the Worlds, he said, “You can't always train so intensively. Therefore I probably put in more kilometres.”

Kirchen also had to leave the Vuelta early with stomach problems, which also plagued him during the Tour de France. The Columbia-HTC rider started off the season on a low note, breaking his collarbone and shoulder in a crash at the Tour of California. He came back to win a stage at the Tour de Suisse and the national time trial title, before his unsuccessful Tour de France.

“I had a lot of bad luck this year,” he said. “Life just doesn't always go as planned.”

As to this year's race, the 31-year-old came to northern Italy on Tuesday to train alone. “That way I could train as I wanted and concentrate entirely on my work.”

However, he was unwilling to make a prediction as to how he will perform in the race this year. “Let's just say, that I am doing better than last year.” That much is clear – he had to cancel his appearance only five days before that race, due to exhaustion.

The other two members of “Team Lëtzebuerg“ are Laurent Didier and Jempy Drucker.

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