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“At Amstel, everything is open. I still think it’s the hardest of the three races [Ardennes classics] to win. You need to have the legs, you need to have the luck, and you need everything to go well,” Frank Schleck said.

Photo: Sirotti








20.04.2014 @ 09:30 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

Frank Schleck, vowing to have returned almost every single week, has eventually showed some signs of life at the Paris-Nice and Criterium International this season, but  then quickly faded again in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco to abandon the Basque event on its ultimate day. The former Amstel Gold Race winner insists, however, that his most recent disappointing performance was caused by a massive block of training and this effort should pay off in the Ardennes classics.


Frank Schleck soloed his maiden Ardennes classics’ victory at the Amstel Gold Race in 2006, but no less than eleven top ten finishes posted in the hilly one-day races since then suggested that the 34-year old Trek Factory Racing rider was a serious contender in all three events, before his suspension for testing positive for the diuretic Xipamide.


The 34-year old Luxembourger, despite disappointing performance at the Vualta al Pais Vasco, remains confident about his current disposition and adequate preparations ahead of the Ardennes triptych. However, the former Amstel Gold Race winner confesses that he is not certain about his strength over classics’ long distance after he skipped those races in 2013.  


“I’m going to try to do the best possible, that’s not news. But I won’t know myself what that [the best possible] is until I’m in the race,” Schleck told Le Quotidien.


“I can’t make predictions but I’m in a favourable position. I feel good. I’ve worked a lot, maybe even too much.”


“I had so much motivation after Paris-Nice and Critérium International that I rode a lot before the Tour of the Basque Country. Without doubt, too much… I worked full on and I felt it in the Basque Country. But the coaches, Kim [Andersen] and I agreed that it would pay off during these classics.


“The motivation is there and the team is behind me. After that, we’ll have to see how the races go and how my legs are. The human body isn’t something you can just adjust like a car.”


Schleck confirmed a general opinion that this year’s list of potential favorites to take the spoils in the first of Ardennes classics is longer than usually, but also made interesting remark about the Amstel Gold Race being the hardest one to win, due to its ‘openness’ and unpredictability.


“At Amstel, everything is open. I still think it’s the hardest of the three races [Ardennes classics] to win. You need to have the legs, you need to have the luck, and you need everything to go well,” he said.


“In Liège, you need to be the strongest, which isn’t always necessarily the case at Amstel, which is more open.”


While Frank has showed some signs of life with his good performances at the Paris-Nice and Criterium International earlier this spring, the same thing certainly cannot be said about his younger brother Andy, stealing the spotlight only while struggling at the very back of the peloton. Still, the 34-year old Luxembourger believes that the former Tour de France champion will eventually show some improvement on the dedicated to climbers Liege-Bastogne-Liege course.


“He’s going well but not to the point of being a leader yet,” Fränk Schleck said. “I think Andy will be better for Liège.”



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