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Schleck got his big win

Dirty, but happy:

Dirty, but happy: (Image credit: Elmar Krings)

Fränk Schleck finally achieved his first "big one". After a spectacular solo attack, the Luxembourger from Team CSC took a well-deserved victory in the 41st edition of the classic Amstel Gold Race. When the decisive split took place on the steepest climb, at Keutenberg about 13 kilometres before finish, both Fränk Schleck and his teammate Karsten Kroon were placed in the lead group, and soon the two riders took matters into their own hands.

With an impressive attack Schleck went solo, while Kroon stayed behind to keep the other favourites in check. After that it was entirely up to Schleck, and the 26 year-old rider lasted all the way home and could subsequently claim the biggest triumph of his career so far.

"I'm so happy right now and it's really hard to put into words how I feel, because this is such a great moment for me," said a very emotional Schleck in the finish. "I've been close so many times before, but have often lacked that last bit of luck. Today I was up front again and was lucky enough to have Karsten Kroon providing me with invaluable help. Winning the Amstel Gold Race is a big deal and I would like to thank the entire team."

Team manager Bjarne Riis guided his protégé to victory. "When we had two riders up front after Keutenberg, I knew anything was possible and everything did indeed work out for us," said Riis. "This was team work to perfection - especially Karsten was a big help - and it's a fantastic triumph for Fränk, who has developed enormously and reached a level where he's capable of winning a big classic. I predict him the winner of more races like this. We've won two classics within a week and it's definitely a huge mile stone for our team."

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