Missing brother adds to Schleck's Tour woes

Tour de France podium finisher Frank Schleck believes the absence of his brother, as well as doubts on his race fitness, have virtually ended his podium hopes this year.

RadioShack team leader Schleck finished third overall in 2011, one step below younger brother Andy, the 2010 champion, and two below Australia's Cadel Evans.

But his chances of making the podium on the Champs Elysees on July 22 are being kept in check by a route which largely favours BMC leader Evans and British challenger Bradley Wiggins of Team Sky.

Compounding Schleck's existing woes, on both a personal and professional level, is the absence of younger sibling Andy, who pulled out two weeks ago after suffering injuries at the Criterium du Dauphine race.

"I've always raced with Andy by my side. It won't be the same without him," Schleck told reporters here Thursday, two days before the race kicks off with a 6.4 km prologue in Liege.

"Andy and I race better when we're together. We understand each other, we motivate each other -- not just for racing, for training as well.

"We'll always be better racing together."

The two long time trials on stages nine (41.5 km) and 19 (53.5 km) are expected to give Evans and Wiggins, both accomplished all-rounders, a huge boost over their rivals.

When the route was announced in October, it automatically dropped Schleck, who is mediocre in the race against the clock, down the list of contenders.

He affirmed Thursday: "If we're totally honest, the 100 km of time trials this year doesn't favour me.

"And there are only three summit finishes. It's really going to be hard making up the time lost in the time trials."

But Schleck's biggest concern appears to be maintaining his race form until July 22, after a spring and early summer of competing at the Giro d'Italia, which had not been on his race programme, the Tour of Luxembourg and the Tour of Switzerland.

"My preparation for the Tour hasn't been the best this year, at least it hasn't been as I'd hoped.

"I'm in good shape but the Tour of Switzerland finished only 10 days ago and we'll have to see whether I can maintain that kind of form for the next three weeks," said Schleck.

"I'm still confident and of course you start every race to try and win it, but we'll be taking it stage by stage."

Schleck's only hope, he admits, is joining with several other outsiders to take the race to Evans and Wiggins on some of the early mountain stages which, incidentally, also feature some of the race's steepest ever climbs.

"Of course there's a lot of guys like me in the peloton, riders who will be looking for a chance to grab a few seconds here and there," Schleck told AFP.

"It's going to be interesting to see how those guys are racing. Maybe there's going to be a union. I don't know.

"Definitely, strong teams like Sky and BMC have to race from the beginning and take charge from the start of the race.

"So this is a Tour you have to race aggressively. One day you might have an opportunity early on (in a stage), you can't wait for the last climb."

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • National Geographic 'Afghan girl' in Pakistan papers probe
    National Geographic 'Afghan girl' in Pakistan papers probe

    Pakistani officials are investigating after the famous green-eyed "Afghan girl" immortalised in a 1985 National Geographic magazine cover was found living in the country on fraudulent identity papers. The haunting image of the then 12-year-old Sharbat Gula, taken in a refugee camp by photographer Steve McCurry, became the most famous cover image in the magazine's history. Now Pakistani officials say that Gula applied for a Pakistani identity card in the northwestern city of Peshawar in April …

  • NYC, Orthodox Jews reach deal on circumcision suction ritual
    NYC, Orthodox Jews reach deal on circumcision suction ritual

    NEW YORK (AP) — The city said Tuesday it has reached a tentative agreement with members of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community over a tradition known as oral suction circumcision. …

  • ‘Noy angered by previous SAF failures to get Marwan’
    ‘Noy angered by previous SAF failures to get Marwan’

    Supt. Raymund Train, who led the SAF team that killed Marwan in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25, recounted in a sworn statement the meeting he and senior SAF officers had with Aquino in Malacañang on Nov. 30. Train said among the senior officers who attended the meeting were then PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima, SAF chief Director Getulio Napeñas, SAF deputy commander Chief Supt. Noli Taliño and intelligence group chief Senior Supt. Fernando Mendez. …

  • Duterte: Disband all armed groups
    Duterte: Disband all armed groups

    All armed groups, including those of the communists and Muslim secessionist groups, should be disbanded for the country to achieve stability, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said yesterday. Duterte said even the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the Moro National Liberation Front and the New People’s Army should be asked to lay down their arms once these groups agree to join him in what he described as a unity government if he becomes President in 2016. Duterte said under the federal government that he is …

  • Vatican seeks to quell Mexican anger over pope's drug remark
    Vatican seeks to quell Mexican anger over pope's drug remark

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican sought Wednesday to defuse a diplomatic tiff with Mexico after Pope Francis referred to the possible "Mexicanization" of his native Argentina from drug trafficking, the latest instance of Francis' casual speaking style getting him into trouble. …

  • School can’t sack unwed mom – SC
    School can’t sack unwed mom – SC

    The dismissal of an employee of a Catholic school on the grounds of premarital sexual relations and pregnancy out of wedlock was illegal, the Supreme Court (SC) has ruled. In a 23-page decision promulgated on Feb. 17, the third division of the high court struck down the decision of St. Scholastica’s College-Westgrove (SSCW) in Silang, Cavite to dismiss Cheryll Santos Leus for “disgraceful or immoral conduct” in violation of the school’s 1992 Manual of Regulations for Private Schools (MRPS). …

  • Who's your daddy? Hippo ancestry unveiled
    Who's your daddy? Hippo ancestry unveiled

    A great-great grandfather of the hippopotamus likely swam from Asia to Africa some 35 million years ago, long before the arrival of the lion, rhino, zebra and giraffe, researchers said Tuesday. "The origins of the hippopotamus have been a mystery until now," Fabrice Lihoreau, a palaeontologist at France's University of Montpellier and co-author of the study, told AFP. …

  • BOC destroys P50-M smuggled shoes
    BOC destroys P50-M smuggled shoes

    The Bureau of Customs (BOC) destroyed yesterday some P50 million worth of fake footwear products earlier seized in an anti-smuggling drive. The knockoffs of popular brands such as Nike, Adidas, Converse, Skechers, Northface, Leaveland, Merelle, Lacoste, Vans, Havaianas and Ipanema were confiscated from Warehouse 4 in Olivarez Compound, Parañaque City. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options