CSC rider Fränk Schleck has enjoyed an impressive 2005, taking strong results in the last few races of the season, where only the likes of Paolo Bettini and Gilberto Simoni could stop him from finishing first. The 25-year-old Luxemburger took the national jersey from teammate Kim Kirchen this year and almost made it to the podium in the Tour de Suisse, with five seconds separating himself and German superstar Jan Ullrich. This cycling revelation comes from a family with deep roots in the sport, and has found a perfect base to continue dreaming about higher goals with Danish team CSC, as he revealed to Cyclingnews' Hedwig Kröner.
Cyclingnews: Tell me about your season - 2005 has been a breakthrough year for you, with plenty of great results...
Fränk Schleck: Yes. Now that I'm back to training, having trouble starting over again, I realise how great the season really was! Although I'm only riding 2-3 hours a day, still taking it easy. It's true that I've continuously improved every year since I became a pro three years ago. This season, it started out really well with the Tour Méditerranéen, where I placed second, then I became seventh in Paris-Nice. After that I raced Milano-Sanremo, and then Bjarne sent me to take a break and do some downhill skiing...
CN: You went skiing in the middle of the season?
FS: Yes! That was surprising but I must say that Bjarne really knows what he's doing and what a rider needs at any given time. Just before Milano-San Remo, Bjarne told me that I was participating in too many races before the Giro; that he needed me there in good form. 'You can't stop all together,' he said, 'you'd lose too much muscle. But your heart needs a rest.' So he asked me if I could ski. He said, 'don't break anything, but go ski, it's good for the muscles.'
It was funny because my girlfriend happened to go for a skiing vacation one day before Milano-San Remo, so I raced there, even finished in the lead group, and then joined her. We skied together, but I also went walking up the mountain at 7 o'clock in the morning, three times a week. And I must say that it was great training! As I returned home, I was in top shape, even better than before. I'd like to do that again in 2006, if I can, as it was also great for my mind and motivation. Plus, I'm lucky I don't gain any weight that fast, so it's perfect for me.
Click here for the full interview.
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