Tour of Luxembourg defending champion Fränk Schleck was satisfied with his 25th place finish in the opening prologue on Wednesday night. He hopes to repeating his victory from 2009, although Team Saxo Bank is riding two men short this year to due injury problems.
“I am satisfied with my time. I'm not a prologue specialist and I'm especially happy that I have survived this first race day and didn't lose too much time against my rivals,” he told the Luxembourg website wort.lu.
Schleck's last race was Liege-Bastogne-Liege at the end of April. Since then he has mainly trained at home, spending time with his wife and new-born daughter, although last week he spent time in the Pyrenees. “Everything went well. I felt good in the mountains and my form is right,” he said.
“I will try to defend my Luxembourg win. It's a disadvantage only having six rider at the start, but I have to respect the decision. There just aren't any more riders available to race.”
Schleck got special support from younger brother Andy, who is not riding the race but who was at the race. “I was in the team car behind him,” Andy Schleck said. “Actually I didn't want to, because I was afraid he might crash. But in the end I was happy to be able to cheer my brother on.”
Other Luxembourg riders with mixed results
Kim Kirchen of Katusha was also making his race return on home roads after a six-week pause. He finished 49th, 21 seconds down on Jimmy Engoulvent on the 2.6 km course. “I went into the race fairly cautiously, I wanted to see first how I felt. On the climb I then noticed that more was possible, and went for it.”
Laurent Didier of Saxo Bank was coming off only a three-day racing pause, having recently completed the Giro d'Italia. “The prologue was difficult. These intense efforts are not my thing and never will be. But my motivation was great,” he said. “My legs were still heavy, but I will first see in the coming days where I stand.” He finished 74th in the prologue.