Schlecks take positive spin on Mur de Bretagne results

Leopard Trek's leading duo of Andy and Fränk Schleck had mixed report cards at the end of the Tour de France stage 4 from Lorient to Mûr de Bretagne. Older brother Fränk managed to hang on when Cadel Evans and Alberto Contador ratcheted up the pace on the final climb, and he finished in the same time as Evans, but Andy lost eight vital seconds to his GC rivals.

At the finish the two brothers were keen to put a positive spin on the outcome of the stage and they crucially still both hold more than a minute over Alberto Contador.

"I'm happy with my form," Fränk told journalists at the finish.

"The most important thing, I'm happy with is the team. We're by far the most united team in the entire peloton," he added.

Just as Fränk climbed back onto the Leopard Trek bus, Andy emerged and despite his time loss he appeared as jovial as ever.

"I hope it doesn't mean a lot for the battle for yellow," he said.

"It's only the 4th stage of the Tour but I've felt good on the hills so far. It's true I missed a little of punch in the final kilometers but it's not really my favourite terrain."

The climb arguably suited Contador more than the Schleck brothers and Andy drew a parallel to last year's Tour de France climb to Mende where he lost 10 seconds to Contador after the Spaniard's explosive climbing legs blew the race apart in a matter of vertical meters.

"It suited Contador perfectly and in Mende I lost 10 seconds and today it was only seven [sic] so I'm going better," he said.

The only moment of frustration displayed by either sibling came when Fränk was asked by one journalist if today's events proved that he was a better climber than his younger brother. Fränk paused briefly before answering.

"I'm not stronger than Andy so stop with speculation, because I can see where you are going and I don't want to go there. We'll see what happens in the Pyrenees and we'll take it from there."

Team manager Brian Nygaard was content with the day's result and expressed his respect and admiration for the stage winner Cadel Evans.

"It was an explosive final and we put Andy and Fränk as close to the front as we could so they would not be caught out. It looked like Andy got boxed in, but he didn't have the explosive punch, but the time he lost doesn't make me doubt him. I'm very confident in his shape. Today did underline that Evans is in very good form. He's an excellent stage racer and he's here for the Tour win. Not doing the Giro has really helped him."

Just before Andy hopped back into the team bus there was time for one more question over whether Contador's performance had proven he was the man to beat.

"There's more than just Contador."

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