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Frank Schleck: I’m getting to like this

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Frank Schleck finished in 3rd

Frank Schleck finished in 3rd (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Frank Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan) came home in third place.

Frank Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan) came home in third place. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Frank Schleck leads home the chasers

Frank Schleck leads home the chasers (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Saturday’s third place for Frank Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan) in the mountain top finish at Rocca di Cambio was the first time the rider from Luxembourg has stuck his head above the parapet in this year’s Giro d’Italia. Is it a sign that he could really be prepared to battle for the overall?

A last-minute replacement for Jakob Fuglsang, according to a detailed interview with Gazzetta Sportiva published on Sunday, Schleck reportedly said that he had not really wanted to take part in the Giro. But whether that is true or not, he is certainly getting to like it now.

Awarded 8 points out of ten by Gazzetta for his third place, Schleck revealed that “the real battle only really got underway in the last two kilometres, there were so many of us ahead.”

“On Friday I felt good, today [Saturday] I felt better, but I still need some more time to get top condition. I got third, but in the big climbs it may be a different story.”

According to Schleck, the first week of racing has revealed little of the real condition of the overall favourites, although he told Gazzetta that after eight days off the bike following the Ardennes classics, “It’s not a question of whether I lost more or less [condition], in a week I lost everything. That’s why we [as riders] train every day.”

“Fortunately I have a good team and good morale. We’re here to do a great race.”

However, he admitted that he had ‘no idea’ of the route, and that knowing the stages is “really important. I’m sure Basso, Kreuziger, Rodríguez and Scarponi know all each and every detail.” It is possible, he said, although not yet definitely decided, that RadioShack-Nissan will send a member of the team staff ahead to check out some of the mountain stages and give him some up-to-date information on the climbs.

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Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.