Fränk Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan) gets his 2012 season underway in Mallorca on Sunday, as he lines up in the Trofeo Palma alongside his brother Andy. The Luxembourg brothers already trained in Mallorca in January, and Fränk believes the Balearic event provides a perfect transition from training to racing.
“It’s a criterium, so it’s ideal for turning the legs,” Schleck told Le Quotidien. “We’re going there calmly, because it’s time to start again. All the team is happy to be there, it’s a good work out. Of course we won’t be looking for results here. For us, the first test will be Paris-Nice.”
After competing in Mallorca, the Schleck brothers will not together ride again in February, as Andy will race the Tour of Oman, while Fränk lines up at the Ruta del Sol. The pair will be reunited as part of a strong RadioShack-Nissan line-up at Paris-Nice in March, a race in which Schleck expects teammate Andreas Klöden to shine.
“I’ve often done well in this race,” Schleck said. “[This year] the route goes through Mende, and in general it will be hard. Ok, Mende doesn’t really suit us, as the climb there is short and steep, it suits the puncheurs. The last day there’s the time trial up the Col d’Eze, a climb we know well.
“I think it’s going to suit Andreas Klöden perfectly. He won the race twelve years ago on that exact final stage. But with Andy, we’ll definitely be in good form.”
Now 31 years of age, the elder of the Schleck brothers is aware that, at least in theory, he has reached the peak of his powers. “With time, it’s clear that you train better and better. Time goes by and you have more experience, and I think I’ve progressed every year,” Schleck said. “That’s also why I’m very confident as I start this season. But I’ll tell you at the end of the year if it’s really true that you’re at your strongest at my age.”