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Welcome to the club, Pippo!

Richie Porte, Andy Schleck and Matti Breschel share a joke.

Richie Porte, Andy Schleck and Matti Breschel share a joke. (Image credit: Daniel Benson)

Well if it isn't my good friend Pippo Pozzato, popping up on Welcome to the club Pippo and congratulations on your inaugural blog, although I'm still on the fence when it comes to your tattoo.

A word of caution before you set out on this journey of new found journalistic fame: The world of blogging and journalism isn't as easy as everyone in the press makes out. There's the writer's block; the deadlines for copy; the screaming editors and the emails from fans correcting your every mistake and don't even get me started on the pay. All I'm saying is don't quit your day job. Stick to cycling, chest waxing and fast cars.

I'm kidding of course and I really enjoyed reading the first blog. I think over the next few months you, the readers, will receive an insightful view into one of the peloton's most colourful characters. As for my thoughts on Pippo, well he's a good friend of mine and we've known each other for a very long time so he'll know that all my words are in jest.

But don't let his metrosexual exterior fool you, as he's one of the most talented riders around. And like he says, he works damn hard on the bike and trains like a total professional. Don't be surprised to see him up there in the Classics vying for a big win this season.

We're very different in terms of our lifestyles but we've had a lot of fun together in the past. One thing you can't say about him is that he doesn't take care of himself. He's always in the nicest designer clothes but despite that front he's always good for a laugh and he doesn't take himself too seriously.

At the Tour de Suisse last year he had a different jersey for every stage. He'd just won the Italian national jersey and Santini were sending him different designs every day. He kept on asking me opinion every day but to be honest I thought they all looked good.

And he's always asking me about what car I have. I have one, but it's the sort of thing Pippo wouldn't be seen dead in.

Training through injury

Anyway, enough about Pippo, this is my blog. I'm currently in Mallorca, Spain for some training. As you may have read a few weeks ago, I came here with the team to do some training but ended up picking up a slight knee injury.

Well, two weeks later and I'm back on the bike but my racing debut has been put back again and instead of riding Ruta de Sol I'll be starting my season at the Giro del Friuli in March.

It's another setback after I was forced out of the Challenge Mallorca earlier in the month but I'm not worried about the Classics just yet. They're still some way off and I know that I can improve my fitness and form and be strong for them.

It is of course frustrating though. No one likes being off the bike through injury, but if the doctors tell you that a rest is needed then you have to listen and obey. They're the experts and the last thing I want is for this injury to turn into something more serious. Everything happens for a reason, so I'll remain positive.

From Friuli I'll head to Erioca and then Tirreno-Adriatico so by the time the first goals in my season come around I'll have plenty of miles in my legs. And anyway I'm doing some good training here in Mallorca. The weather is good and I'm here with my best friend Gilles. We've been friends since I was a kid and he can cycle pretty well so he's able to keep up without any problems.

On a brighter note, I spoke to Jonny Bellis again last week. He'll be leaving hospital in the next couple of weeks and there's a chance he'll be on the bike again sometime soon. He's a great kid and he and his family have been through an awful lot in the last few months. I'm really happy to hear that's he's doing better.

And on that note I'd better dash. Gilles is ready to go for a ride and this training isn't going to do itself.


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Now just 23 years of age, Andy Schleck made a name for himself during the 2007 Giro d'Italia when he won the best young rider classification. The Luxembourger continued to impress in 2008, when he took the same jersey at the Tour de France while helping his squad to win the teams and general classification.
Schleck is the younger brother of Saxo Bank teammate Fränk. The pair's father, Johnny, also contested some of the world's largest cycling races including the Tour de France and Vuelta a España between 1965 and 1974.
The cycling world is expecting more big things from Schleck in 2009, and he'll be keeping you informed of his progress throughout the year on

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