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Riis holds the line in CSC's three-pronged front

Bjarne Riis, the Saxo Bank/CSC manager, was happy with his riders' performance so far

Bjarne Riis, the Saxo Bank/CSC manager, was happy with his riders' performance so far (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

By Gregor Brown in Super-Besse

Bjarne Riis, CSC-Saxo Bank's mastermind, will stick to the team's three-pronged approach, following the race's first mountain stage.

"The plan is to hit our rival teams with the Sastre/Schleck front. Carlos Sastre and brothers Fränk and Andy Schleck all fighting for the overall classification." Riis otold Cyclingnews.

The trio did well yesterday despite Andy Schleck being caught up in the maillot jaune crash at 300 metres out. It was shortly after that moment that his older brother attacked - a move that kicked-started the move by eventual stage winner, Riccardo Riccò.

Fränk Schleck faded slightly in the end and finished fourth, but moved up by 12 seconds in the classification, into 17th position at 1'56 back from leader Kim Kirchen. He is one spot up on his brother. Andy Schleck was 1'29 back going it the day, but slipped down to 1'58" - mostly due to nearly crashing with Stefan Schumacher.

Sastre kept within sight of the leaders and remains in a protected position. He finished eighth for the day and is now 12th overall at 1'34.

"Pretty okay, I think," was Riis' summary of the team's performance. "We did what was expected. The climbs we did today were not that hard and it is still a long way to go."

The race contains another four mountaintop finishes scatted across the Pyrenees and Alps. Riis thinks that the remaining competitors will be fleshed out over those demanding days. "With a couple kilometres to go today, there were still a lot of riders," he warned.

Also see: An interview with Fränk and Andy Schleck.

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