More about Schleck's drinking...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/ about Frank's victory on Alpe d'Huez in TdF 2006:

" [...] So please, let us toast Franck Schleck. And be assured that's exactly what they will be doing in the Grand Duchy. Luxembourgers are officially the biggest beer drinkers in the world, all of which makes their ability to float up mountains on bikes even more curious."
Would you like to be the girl who Andy is staring at with this lovely smile?


No nightmares!

Propos recueillis à Pau par Pierrick TAISNE - mardi 15 juillet 2008 – 13h51
"Avez-vous fait des cauchemars de la montée d'Hautacam?
Fränk: Non. Nous avons bu deux verres de vin rouge. Ça va mieux maintenant (rires).
Did you have any nightmares about Hautacam climbing?
Fränk: No. We drank two glasses of red wine. Now we feel better. [laughs]]"


Undercover agents Schleck!


"Everyone had to be trained as an undercover agent with special skills and knowledge in order to complete the main assignment, which was to locate and free the main sponsors [!!], who'd been taken hostage by an unknown enemy. The team had to work together in both small and larger groups in order to complete this assignment. But in the middle of everything the enemy attacked the camp and everyone had to flee into the darkness. Dogs and enemies constantly chased the team but after almost 24 hours on the run through unknown territory they managed to reach the coastline, where everyone jumped into the freezing cold water to be rescued by small speedboats and brought to safety onboard three larger boats. The next assignment was to set sails, navigate through the Danish sea in the dead of night, cook and get everyone safely to the destination. The final day everyone competed against each other in a match race under difficult conditions."
Well, I'm sure it's a good training camp, but... in my opinion Rijs is a little sadistic!


Ser feliz

This is NOT a good transation, instead. But I have no more time to work on it. Besides it's from Spanish and officially I dont know this language at all. So, look to the meaning, not the form. I realy like when Fränk talk about his 'flying' over the guard rail and then the 'final test': Andy is disarming! However I'm a bit worried about he sleeping listening to the music: I have never been able to do it. Sorry for my barbaric english.

Interview by Victor Rodriguez, Synooh 2008, in http://interview.cyclingfever.com
"Schleck brothers – CSC triumph key is unity"
Fränk Schleck, 28 years old, Luxembourg national champion, wore the yellow jersey for two days in the last Tour de France; Andy Schleck, 23, was second in the Giro d'Italia 2007 and white jersey winner both in the Giro 2007 and in the Tour 2008. They are brothers and above all good friends, as you can understand reading this interview by synooh about the great role played in the last Tour by their team CSC, that achieved the race victory by Carlos Sastre, the best youth jersey by Andy Schleck and the best team prize, demonstrating that today no other cycling team can do better.
Finally we saw you together in an important three weeks tour...
Fränk: It's was time! I'm very happy for our last Tour de France but especially for Andy who achieved the white jersey after that he got the Giro's one last years as well as the second place on the podium. We both achieved good results in the past, but never together in an important tour.
Andy: Me too I'm happy: I won the best youth jersey, my brother wore the yellow jersey for two days, we won as the best team, Carlos won the Tour... The truth is that in this race we stand out both individually and as a team.
You lost something in time trials...
Andy: Well, we lost a lot of time, it's sure. Fränk lost the possibility to get on the Paris podium and I had to suffering to avoid Kreuziger snatching the white jersey from me. We must improve in time trials if we want to fight for greater aims in the future.
Fränk, in the Alpe d'Huez Carlos Sastre was dealing the final blow to the race but you were defending the yellow jersey. It's an hard feeling to can not defend your leadership because the team ask you to let go it?
Fränk: Honestly in that day Carlos won because in the last week he was having an incredibly good condition. I think that if I have had the strength to go away with him, I would have fallowed him in any case, even if probably Cadel Evans would have fallowed too. I don't know what it would have been happened then, but Carlos won in Alpe d'Huez because he was the best. Off course once Carlos went forward, I did everything possible to help him because if I have attacked Cadel would have came with me and the gap to Carlos would be reduced; given that Cadel's condition wasn't the best, I tried twice to attack with the aim to save time to preserve my place on the time trial podium, but when I realized that I wasn't managing to leave him behind, we decided that shielding Carlos break out was the best strategy, given that he was the team first option to the final victory.
Has Bjarne Rijs no part in that decision?
Fränk: We have spoken about this before the stage start: who had the strength should attack, keeping in our mind that Carlos was the leader, and, if all turned well, Andy and I should be there to give him some aid, but he didn't need it and I simply tried to defend my chance to get on the podium by that two attacks I told.
Andy: I had more freedom that day; I would like to have been fighting for the stage victory, but it was impossible: Carlos was going like a jet. Given that I was lower in the classification, I was allowed to move much more easily then my brother who was wearing the yellow jersey in that stage. I had to stay in front and to help if Carlos or Fränk went away, but things turn wrong and I had to remain where I was. Finally I managed to arrive with the best racers and to deal an important blow to the youths classification. In any case that has been a unforgettable day: to climb the Alpe d'Huez with the best racers of the word and with a hundred of supporters from Luxembourg inciting us, it was like dreaming with open eyes: I would like this climb lasted more.
Certainly CSC was the best team of that TdF. What's the secret to make things work so well?
Andy: There's been a great team work. Everybody we had trained at an hight level. I think that if that nine racers move from CSC to another team, all nine would be their new teams leaders.
Fränk: First, we are a close team. That is the key, I think, we worked so well in that Tour.
Andy, you had your personal 'via crucis' in the Hautacam day...
Andy: It's been the harder stage, it's sure. I've been left behind and lost a lot of time, but I have never lost heart. I think that I want to try to be a champion I have to endure a lot of failures and to learn from them; the most important thing to not repeat the same mistake is to learn from my bad days. Anyway, yes, Hautacam day has been my harder one in this Tour.
Best youth in the Giro 2007, best youth in the Tour 2008... When will you be between the best racers in a Vuelta?
Andy: This year there are the Olympic Games in August and even if I'll go to the Vuelta I will go without any hope to achieve something, but only to learn for the next editions. I promise that I will take care of the Vuelta 2009 pledging to fight to the victory. [laughs].
And you, Fränk? Your brother has been earlier then you in aiming a great Vuelta podium... [laughs]
Fränk: I say the same that Andy: it's difficult to maintain an excellent condition four months long, so I will hardly do something in the Vuelta this year, if we will race it in the end. Nevertheless I like this race and I hope I can be fighting to win it in the future.
Talking with you, Fränk, it happen to me to think about you dreadful fall in the last Vuelta a Suiza. What do you think in moment like that?
Fränk: Uff! My hairs stand on end, if I just remember it! The truth is, Victor, that you cant imagine what means flying, having jumped over the guard rail, without seeing where the fall end will be. I had the great fortune that after the precipice there was a little pile of earth, which I fell on and I could go back up totally unharmed. If not, I would never be here to tell, you can be sure. What I have been thinking? Everything. In two seconds you remember all your life: your family, your friends, all your people; you realize that if you lose your life you lose all them. You realize how living is a good thing.
Andy: I suffered a lot! I thought I would remain without my brother. Fortunately it came to nothing.
Lets change subject. How did you live your father's car search in Grenoble and the shameful behavior of the Géndarmerie agents toward him?
Andy: I don't amaze any more at anything concerning this subject, the more in France. Unfortunately we are getting used at this kind of things in cycling, I think it wasn't related to any kind of persecutions or anything else, it has been simply one act in this crusade against doping that they undertook in France.
Fränk: In my opinion it has been only a misunderstanding. They realized that he was our father only when they opened his suitcase and saw his documents. They realized that he didn't have nothing and they allowed him to go without any problems. Nevertheless it has been a huge nonsense that they pointed their guns against him. In my opinion this is totally unacceptable.
And what do you think about the way the medias treat the doping subject and the attitude of official cycling institutions?
Fränk: I get furious, because it seems to me that a lot of people think that all we racers are doped and it's not true. I wish people would be aware of the huge deal of test we make and that just for this reason cheats are found. We made a thousand of tests against the doping out of the competitions and they have never found anything suggesting the slightest suspect and it's the same for a thousand of others racers. I think it's awfully unfair that people accused of tricking all we who are playing this sport, that is in my opinion the hardest.
Andy: About this subject I totally agree with my brother. In my opinion it's very sad that some people think we all are doped, but I think also that sport press have a lot of responsibility in that, because it's seems to me that they don't treat in the same way a positive test regarding a cyclist or another athlete, for example. I hope time will bring cycling again in the place it deserves and where it never would have moved from.
Passing to another subject, given that it's take no care to lose time for absurd thing like those – people don't' admiring cyclists for the hardness of their sport - How is your relationship with Carlos Sastre?
Andy: Excellent! Carlos is an excellent man and he spent all his life working to some other getting all the honors. He deserved this victory as a turning-point in his career in the cycling world. I hope that next year he will fight to win the Tour again, even if, off course, I hope the end would be different, with my brother or me arriving in yellow to Paris. [laughs]
Fränk: I learn a lot of things from Carlos, but I tell you just one of them: “If you want to be a great champion you must never forget your origins and never lose the humbleness”. Carlos keeps his feet on the ground, he knows where he come from, knows who are their friends, knows what he did to arrive where he arrived and I am very happy to him.
Up till now I didn't know how you behave in fact, but I see that you have an incredibly good relationship. How do you avoid that sports rivalry ruins it?
Andy: Look, I exactly know who I am and who Fränk is. He's my brother and this come first of all [it's the most important thing]. In a race I like winning, but if I can win I like that he wins; anyway I'm still very young and I have time to win, now it's Fränk's moment, however... if you think over a little, well, my 'palmares' is not worse then his. [laughs]
Fränk: [laughs] Don't pay attention to him. [laughs] We haven't any secret to get on so well together, and I think that the blood bond is not the only reason: Andy is my brother, but also a best friend of mine; I would never exchange him for nothing in the world.
I'll stop disturbing you; to end, a little test:
A desire?
Andy: To be happy.
A dream?
Fränk: To win the olympic gold medal in Beijing.
A mania?
Andy: Sleeping listening to the music.
A place to live?
Andy: a village in the mountains!!
A place where to lose yourself?
Fränk: Any beach with sun and stillness.
Fränk, how would you define Andy in few words?
Fränk: humble, sensible and very attentive to his dears.
Andy, how would you define your brother?
Andy: He's the best of the world!!
Are you optimist?
Together: Always!!



I love those pics because you can see their eyes. But it's very hard to find a pic with Andy in the foreground without sunglasses and looking right to the objective!
I think Andy is more beautiful then Fränk (too beautiful for me, I cant stand it!), but Fränk is more expressive and have something sensual that upsets me. Andy is like a mountain lake hiding its depth under a bright surface.
NOW, if some Schleck read this, please, dont worry: I'm loosing my mind...



Big Brother and Messy Little Bro

From www_cyclingnews_com news and analysis

(Probably you have already read this, but it's new to me and very nice. Thanks Sansen for the site)
An interview with Fränk Schleck, December 1, 2005
"Flying high close to home"
CSC rider Fränk Schleck has enjoyed an impressive 2005, taking strong results in the last few races of the season, where only the likes of Paolo Bettini and Gilberto Simoni could stop him from finishing first. The 25-year-old Luxemburger took the national jersey from teammate Kim Kirchen this year and almost made it to the podium in the Tour de Suisse, with five seconds separating himself and German superstar Jan Ullrich. This cycling revelation comes from a family with deep roots in the sport, and has found a perfect base to continue dreaming about higher goals with Danish team CSC, as he revealed to Cyclingnews' Hedwig Kröner.
Cyclingnews: Tell me about your season - 2005 has been a breakthrough year for you, with plenty of great results...
Fränk Schleck: Yes. Now that I'm back to training, having trouble starting over again, I realise how great the season really was! Although I'm only riding 2-3 hours a day, still taking it easy. It's true that I've continuously improved every year since I became a pro three years ago. This season, it started out really well with the Tour Méditerranéen, where I placed second, then I became seventh in Paris-Nice. After that I raced Milano-Sanremo, and then Bjarne sent me to take a break and do some downhill skiing…
CN: You went skiing in the middle of the season?
FS: Yes! That was surprising but I must say that Bjarne really knows what he's doing and what a rider needs at any given time. Just before Milano-San Remo, Bjarne told me that I was participating in too many races before the Giro; that he needed me there in good form. 'You can't stop all together,' he said, 'you'd lose too much muscle. But your heart needs a rest.' So he asked me if I could ski. He said, 'don't break anything, but go ski, it's good for the muscles.' It was funny because my girlfriend happened to go for a skiing vacation one day before Milano-San Remo, so I raced there, even finished in the lead group, and then joined her. We skied together, but I also went walking up the mountain at 7 o'clock in the morning, three times a week. And I must say that it was great training! As I returned home, I was in top shape, even better than before. I'd like to do that again in 2006, if I can, as it was also great for my mind and motivation. Plus, I'm lucky I don't gain any weight that fast, so it's perfect for me.
To prepare for the Giro, I took part in the Belgian Classics. The Giro was a lot of hard work for our team, trying to pave the way for Ivan. Then I rode the Tour de Suisse, a race that I absolutely love. After that, I won the Luxemburg Championship - a true pleasure for me too, wearing the jersey now. In August, I raced the Deutschland Tour, where I wanted to be up front but unfortunately that wasn't possible - I was too ill. It was a pity because I like Germany as a country [Schleck speaks fluent German, as many Luxemburgers do]. It's a hard but beautiful event so I wanted to race fast, but my schedule was too full; after the Tour de la Région Wallonne I immediately did the Luk-Cup pair time trial, then the Tour of Benelux, then Germany. And for all of these events the weather was really bad, so I fell ill with the flu. The first three days in Germany I really struggled to make it through the stages, so it was over for me. But I didn't want to abandon, as I had trained well. And I'm not the kind of guy to quit a race - I just don't want to. It's too easy to get off the bike, and it can become a habit.
Anyway, I finished the race and in one of the last stages, a mountain stage up the Feldberg, I was almost okay again. After I got over that illness, I wanted to make up for what I had missed in Germany, so my motto was to give it all at the end of the season, and that went really well. I also wanted to confirm my abilities after a very good season start with the Giro and especially the Tour de Suisse, so I really dug deep for the last three races, doing some training behind the motorbike with my Dad and brother, and it was a success. I didn't realise what I'd done at the time, but now - going back into training after a break of 4-5 weeks, you ask yourself: did I ever ride that fast?
CN: Which of your performances this year rates highest for you personally?
FS: Hmmm…actually, all of them. At the Tour de Suisse, I should have been on the podium [Schleck finished fourth, five seconds behind Jan Ullrich]. But another really important race for me was the Giro, because riding 100 per cent for Ivan was also a beautiful experience. To know that I was the last man with him on the climbs was really important for me; it was very satisfying and I learned a lot. And yes, of course, Zürich is one of my greatest achievements so far. Two years ago, I wouldn't have even dreamed about a situation like that. Only one guy left in front of me, and it's Bettini. We all know how good Bettini is… he's one of the greatest! And then that last race, the Giro di Lombardia, it's legendary. For me, it's part of the myth in cycling, together with races like Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Every rider has his own preferences, but for me, Lombardia is the greatest race [Schleck finished third in 2005, losing a three-man sprint to Gilberto Simoni and Bettini].
CN: So tell me about your family. Your father, Johnnny Schleck, was a pro in the 60's and 70's with the Luxemburg national team and with Bic [riding with Luis Ocaña and Tour de France-director Jean-Marie Leblanc], and your younger brother, Andy, is also with Team CSC...
FS: It's in the family, yes. My Dad rode the Tour de France eight or nine times [eight times, one abandon- ed.], so I was immersed in it since I was a child. My older brother Steve started racing, too, but I was too small so I came to the races to support him. But I always thought that his way of racing wasn't smart, so I had to prove it to him that I could do a better job…[laughs] So I started racing aged 13. And little by little, I grew into the sport, dreaming of course to become a pro, but I didn't really think of that. Andy started the same way. Steve has stopped now - he's moved into politics. But my Dad never pushed us towards cycling. He wanted us to do some sport, because it challenges you and imposes a certain discipline on you once you aim to become better at it. It was important for him that we didn't hang around on the streets, and sport is a good way to focus.
I've always dreamed about becoming a pro, and now that that's achieved, I continue to dream about other goals. I think that it's important to never stop dreaming. Because if you do, you don't set yourself any more objectives. I always think of greater goals, and I believe I can still improve my performances. It helps a lot to be part of a team where everything works perfectly, where I've found great team mates and good friends. Another factor is that my brother is in the team, too, so I think I'm very lucky in this situation, because everything fits together, and that's an enormous advantage.
CN: Tell me about your path from the amateur days to that pro contract with CSC.
FS: After finishing high school, I entered the Luxemburg military sports programme and could focus on cycling only. Then I had a difficult time in Italy, with De Nardi, where nothing seemed to turn out right. I changed to Festina as a stagiaire in 2001, but after that season they stopped, so that was disappointing, too. 2002 was my last year as an Under 23; I was with French Elite 2 team Chateauroux at the time and I said to myself that if I didn't succeed that year, I'd go back to school - I was fed up. It was hard also because the French pro teams looked down on me, saying, 'We have 50 guys like you so why should we take you?' But then Bjarne started to believe in me and took me on as a stagiaire the next year - and I think I convinced him that it wasn't a bad idea! It took a while before I could sign a deal, though, because Jan Ullrich was supposed to join the team. He would have taken the place of two or three riders, financially speaking. It's a pity not to have Jan on the team, but on the other hand, it was good luck for me!
CN: How did the link to CSC happen?
FS: Bjarne Riis and Kim Andersen were in the same club I started out with - ACC Contern in Luxemburg. The president, Marcel Gilles, was the one who made contact with Bjarne. Kim Kirchen, my brother and I are still in that club, so winning the Luxemburg championships was also another great moment for them. It's unfortunate that the Luxemburg media pay very little attention to it. We once had a great rider in the 50's and 60's, Charly Gaul, and I have the feeling that we're at that same level again now in Luxemburg, achieving great results. But the public still focuses on soccer, although we lost 0-4 to Liechtenstein in the qualifications for the World Cup! What's going on? Of course, soccer is the main sport, but it's still a pity the country doesn't know how good we cyclists are. Soccer always gets 8-14 pages in the newspaper, whereas reports on cycling get barely one.
CN: How come a Luxemburger ends up being a great climber, anyway? It's not that Luxemburg has any real mountains, it's more a classics terrain...
FS: Since I was very young, my family went to the Côte d'Azur on holidays, so that's where we rode the longer climbs. But I didn't really train on the mountains specifically, even when I was in Italy. I guess it must be natural talent, and the fact that I haven't got any problems with my weight. On the other hand, my time trial capabilities aren't the best, but I'm working hard on that.
CN: It must be very motivating for you and your brother to race in the same squad. Is there sometimes a little rivalry, too?
FS: No, never. I'm happy about his results in the same way that he is about mine. It's great to be able to train and race together on the same team. Of course, he still has a lot to learn - he can be a bit chaotic, and he's still young…not that I would be that much older, mind you! I've still got a lot to learn as well, but sometimes I can give him some advice on this or that. He needs to find his own way, too - I'm sure that if he stops being so messy…[laughs] he can become a great rider.
CN: You said earlier that you're working on your time trialling now.
FS: Yes, together with Bjarne we already improved my position, but I certainly have a disadvantage because I'm tall, but light [Schleck measures 1.87m for a top form weight of 63-64kg]. So I need to work on my time trialling skills, but when I see Ivan Basso's progress - although I don't want to compare myself to him - I think I should be able to make some progress.
CN: So what are your career goals on the longer term, which way do you want to go?
FS: I do feel more like a stage race rider than for one-day races. I feel good in stage races; once I've caught their rhythm I recover well. I rode the Giro and the Vuelta, and I came out of both races in good form. When I raced the Vuelta last year, I finished in tenth place at the World's in Verona.
CN: What would be your biggest dream, then?
FS: Of course, every rider dreams about the Tour de France. To finish top ten or top five at the Tour would be enormous. Next season, if everything turns out as planned and I'm not ill or injured or anything, I will ride the Tour for the first time, of course as a helper for Ivan Basso. I hope I can help him win the Tour, and I'm more than happy to put my own expectations aside for him. Ivan is a great teammate, a great person; he shows a lot of respect so my biggest goal for next year is to ride the Tour with him.
CN: Will you be able to shift your personal goals to the second half of the season?
FS: I'll try to race fast early in the season, too. Paris-Nice, like this year, and then the Belgian Classics. If I'm up front in Belgium, then that's good. After a break, I'll be preparing for the Tour de France, but not at the Tour de Suisse. After the Tour, the Deutschland Tour would be interesting again, and the final Pro Tour races, especially the Giro di Lombardia, my favourite.

Too sad

I found this pic: do you know who is the racer (Andy or Fränk, he'a Schleck) and where he is? Perhaps he's Andy in GP Cholet 2006? But Kimberley said that was a group fall...
Anyway, today I'm too sad.
You say he's Fränk and according to Marit it's Amstel. I agree.


I love both

Interview by http://www.sportwereld.be/yaGT/Index.aspx?pagetype=WRWedstrijd&id=WREL2008-TOUR&ArticleId=GE81U7CGL# (Thanks Kimberley for translation!)

I would never ride behind my brother even if he had on a different team jersey
“Isn’t it nice if you can see your sons everyday?”, Johnny Schleck, the father of the Schleck-brothers, works as a driver for Skoda these days and meanwhile he sometimes go to the bus of team csc to support his sons. “But that’s it, they can nothing learn from me anymore. Which advice can I possibly give to them?” says Johnny Schleck. It wasn’t a very strange question, Schleck senior rode eight times the tour de France and one time he even reached the podium at the Champs Elysees: that was in 1973 together with team Bic of Luis Ocana. “But that was another time. I can remember that we had to buy our own jerseys, nowadays that would be impossible.”
Fränk and Andy have a smile on their face when their dad speaks about the privileges of a racers.

Fränk: “We have been listening at this for years. During our education dad used to tell us: Always remember where you come from. You know, our dad has been a professional racers, but in that time you didn’t get very much money for it. Neverthless he always made it possible that there were three good bikes at home, one for Andy, one for me and one for our brother Steve. If dad didn’t make all that possible maybe we wouldn’t stand here [at TdF] right now, I’ll keep that in my mind. We growed up as the next door boys did, as every boys from Mondorf, and that is how we want to keep. Dad used to tell us that we didn’t must get a Dikkenek [Fränk really says this word in Dutch].Only if you remain a man like each others, if you keep a normal life, you'll become a real champion: just take a look to men like Indurain or Rebellin.”
It isn’t easy yet to remain the friendly boys from next door. Schleck-madness is huge in Luxembourg these days, and never before so many people from Luxembourg have been watching the Tour de France.
“But it’s impossible to do what all that people want from us” says Andy “Some people call us to ask how the race is going on and others come to our home to ask for a jersey. Well, it’s just impossible.”
In Belgium we are happy with Stijn Devolder, whereas in Luxembourg they have three candidates for a position in the top ten in the Tour. What a fortune!
Fränk: “It’s really strange that a country with less than 500.000 residents has at least four professional racers. Because in the Astana team there is Benoit Joachim, who belongs to the generation before us. Perhaps, we have never had so many good racers in the same age, although we have had some good racers before us. There was of course Charly Gaul, who won the Tour fifty years ago (as the forth racers from Luxembourg, before three victories before the world wars). We had also some racers like dad, but he was a bit too lazy to become a real champion” (laughs).
Johnny: “He’s right. I never could do more then to help the leaders. But I wasn’t only a racers, I had an own company together with my brother. My boys can train much more now and they have a lot of fun in doing it.”
There're so many differences because you grow up in the world of cycling?
Fränk: “Actually that isn’t really true. I become keen on cycling because of my brother Steve, who now is 31. I used to go to the races to support him, but every time he lost I used to become furious. I couldn’t bear seeing to him not winning. After some time Steve came to me and said: Fränk, you ought to start racing, you are much more apt to cycling than me.”
Andy: “Me too, I didn’t became a racer only for this. I played tennis, football and ice hockey. My father never told us: you must play that sport. He just wanted we playing a sport as it's good for our development.”
Fränk: “He used to regard it as an healty way of life. He wanted nothing was going wrong in our teenage years. But a career? No. He never expected that we ended as third and fourth in Liege-Bastonage-Liege.”
But isn’t a father very pleased while his sons manage so well in this Tour de France and in many other races?
Johnny: “I enjoy every victory and every good prestation but I will never overreact. Sometimes I see some parents at their kids football match and they support them as if they were playing the European Championship. They tape the whole match (laughs). I find it’s so funny to see those parents. Up till now we have'nt bought a videocamera yet.”
Andy: “Although it's been very nice you coming to see me in the last year Giro. That helped me a lot, and besides you know as a son that your father is proud of you. Although he doesn’t use to buy many presents for us.”
Fränk: “Compare it to a Ferrari: if you just bought it you are very proud on it. After a year you still proud on it, but you get used to it. Look, if Andy stays in his bed for too long in the morning, then have to stand dad saying next to him as a traditional dad : Come on, get up.” [I'm not sure you meant this!]
Sometimes it looks pretty strange that you can get on so well together. You have got a very different personalitie, it's true?
“Fränk is the insecure. You have always to convince him that he is very good, that he is capable of doing it. Andy instead doesn’t care so much about everything. Andy is self-confident, but less ambitious than his big brother. Last year I suggested Andy surveyed some mountain climbs before the Giro. He just answered: Dad, I’ll see it during the Giro (laughs). Andy has my personality, Fränk instead has his mum's.
Andy: “Actually we never really quarrel, in spite of the fact that we are roommates in every races. There is no hierarchy. Fränk isn’t the big brother who owns the remote control of the TV. The only thing he insists on it's that he want to sleep in the bed next to the window. I think that’s gonna happen at this tour.”
Johnny: “As a father I'm very pleased by that. And if it’s going to happen that they ever get a awful fight, I think they have it out by themselves during a race. There is nothing wrong with that.”
Is it possible that someone of you is going to win this Tour?
Andy: “I always said this is my first tour, I would be happy if I reach Paris.”
Fränk: “He said that also last year at the Giro and he finished second” (laughs).
Andy: “Alright, alright. Of course I expect something from myself. I want to have a good result after all the sacrifices I made. But I don’t think that I’m going to win the Tour. Team CSC leader is Carlos Sastre and the idea is that we are going to ride for him. Although Fränk and I are not going to be the ones who go to the car to get drinks for teammates.”
Johnny: “In French magazine Velo they wrote that Andy could be a possible surprising winner of this Tour. It doesn’t do that much to me. I think that the writer of the article doesn’t know that much about the Tour. It isn’t because you finished second in your first Giro that you can win your first Tour. In France it's a daily war. Bon, just let them write what they want. I think that they can both finish in the top ten, excluding accidents.”
Andy: “We'll see who of us will ride better during this Tour and then the other will help him as much as possible.”
Together you are stronger than each apart.
Fränk: “Indeed and the team managers know that. If they offer a contract to one of us, they have to do the same with the other. I would never ride behind my brother even if he had on a different team jersey.”


What a sweet bigbrother!

Interview by http://www.ciclonet.it/ 21.06.2007
Fränk, good morning... It looks like is going to be a bad day for you racers...

When you have the leader jersey on it's never a bad day. Perhaps, or rather surely, a day full of thoughts to prevent and to drive back opponents attacks, at least...until you’ve got the strength.

Actually I was talking about the weather...

Ah! Ah! It's true, the weather looks quite bad, you have only to look up there at the top of that mountain that we're going to cross to go toward Crans Montana. Anyway, the rain doesn’t scare me; I’m worried about all the opponents that are following me closely within a few seconds between each other.

Furthermore, today’s stage is rather long Fränk, and you have to climb the Nufenenpass (2.470 meters)...

The Nufenenpass is a very hard climb, but we're going to face it at the beginning, so I think it will not affect the race, at least as far as the first positions are concerned. I rather worry about it because of the weather: the sky looks really dark exactly towards the Vallese and I fear that the Nufenenpass is going to be quite a grim obstacle.

Do you fear any attacks today?

I think that some big racers, like Cunego and Simoni or Kloden and Garate and some other ones, could try a sudden attack. It's obvious that is going to happen, because I'm sure that they will not take me to Berna with horse and carriage. Anyway, besides this stage, the next one is a worrying one too. This Tour de Suisse is still open and within the reach of 5 or 6 racers. There will be a daily fight. And we’ve got to bear in mind that the final stage is a time-trial... with few seconds’ gaps...!

Fränk yellow jersey at the Tour of Suisse, Andy white jersey at the Giro d'Italia: yours is a cyclists’ family and a family of champions in addition...

All our family has always been very close to the cycling world; we all have a bicycle and we all use to cycle also without any competitive intent, often only to enjoy a ride at the countryside, all together and cheerful.

Sure, but I think that for Andy and Fränk it's... another music...

And... 'che musica maestro!' [What a music maestro!] as you say in Italy. It's our job: cycling, going fast, climbing mountains, being pleased with leaving the opponents behind...And I hope today my opponents won’t be pleased with leaving ME behind! Yes, when we are racing we have to watch out, because we are all friends, colleagues, we respect each other, but if you can beat someone up when you race your bike, surely you don’t think about it twice! You leave him behind and that's all. And this is what I have to try and avoid today for not having to chase people up in the following stages because, as I said, the gaps between the first 5/6 racers are quite small.

At the next Tour de France we'll have a Schleck's deputation?

Andy won’t be there: he's still too young, he needs to mature, because next year he’s going to be a tough nut to crack for everybody in the stage-races, while I'll be lined up with my team, CSC Team, at the Tour (de France).

In Milan I saw the whole Schleck family celebrating 'Baby Schleck' in white jersey. Will we see the Schleck family also in Berna celebrating yellow jersey on Fränk's shoulders?

I'm going to do my best, really and I think my family will come to Berna anyway possibly with some fellow citizens, even if I’m not going to win the Tour de Suisse. But I won’t give it in easily.

We can believe you considering how your brother behaved at the Giro d'Italia.

Did you see? Before raising the white flag, Andy thinks about it twice. Furthermore, if you allow me to play on words, the racer that wears the white jersey couldn't raise the white flag but had to keep the white glued to his shoulders.

Are you more pleased with showing your yellow jersey or with admiring your brother’s white jersey?

These are two completely different satisfactions but they are the same as regards the feeling and the affection that join us in the family and also in the team, since we are in the same team, CSC. However I confess that when I saw Andy shooting through Milan in white jersey, I felt shivers down my spine and I applauded Andy like a happy supporter pleased with the excellent performance of his favorite racer: our Andy.

When did you have your début as a professional? And how many victories have you collected in your record book?

I had my début as a professional in 2000, in De Nardi team. I was only 20, just like Andy, he too had become neo-professional when he was 20. In my record book I have very few victories.

You speak Italian very well...!

I became a professional when I was in an Italian team, I come often to this wonderful country for racing, so it’s normal that I try to integrate and the first thing you have to learn is the language.

When are we going to see Andy and Fränk together in the same team?

At the next National Championship of Luxembourg, that will take place on Sunday 29.6.2007.

Fränk, give us a free thought…

Please, don’t confuse me with Andy... Give to Cesar what belongs to Cesar and to Andy what belongs...to Andy. But now, let’s put our head down, the sky doesn’t look good at all and somebody says that on the Nufenenpass it could be also snowing... get my skis ready!

Andy's bottom

My help-translator Federica - Italian friend living in England - have not yet corrected my job...
In order to apologize, I can anticipate to you that in this interview Fränk trys (and manages) to show that he speak italian perfectly, so he uses a lot of turns of phrases hard to translate in english... He's an amusing guy!
Meanwhile: Andy's bottom it's always a beautiful view.


Andy loves children

Wait, please: I'm transalting for you!
Meanwhile, enjoy this pic of Andy and his babyfun. Andy loves children, you know! I could use mine in order to gain his heart... What a bad mother! No: it's impossible, also because my little son prefers Ballan and Bruseghin.



GIRO D’ITALIA 2009: presumed itinerary
Start from Venice - chrono-prologue on 9 of May (Mestre-Venice). 1 stage: Venezia-Trieste-Grado. Then, Padova-San Martino di Castrozza (Trento): first taste of the Dolomiti. Stage 6: crossing the border on Austria to reach Innsbruck and (stage 7) retourn to Lombardia. Stage 8: the peloton arrives at Como. Stage 9: Milan-Turin. Stage 10: Cuneo-Sestriere: perhaps climbing Col della Maddalena, Vars, Izoard or Monginevro… Rest the 18 May. Stage 11: Genova – individual chrono– Stage 12: Lerici (in Versilia)-Firenze. Stage 13: Firenze-Bologna, crossing the Appennines. Stage 14 Bologna-Rimini. Then, toward the South, crossing Marche, to Chieti, Sulmona up to Benevento, Avellino and Napoli: finish line on Vesuvio. Then, Napoli-Anagni (Frosinone). Final stage to Rom.
Official confirmation on December.
Surely Lance Amstrong will be there: he's Bush friend who is Berlusconi friend. I detest all them! Please, Maggie, could you ask your new nice President Obama to forbid Lance to leave the USA? I know, that's not democratic, but... I hope some Schleck will be there too.


Andy in the fashion world!

Translation from L'essentiel - toute l’info luxembourgeoise et internationale en temps réel 10.11.08 (Thanks Marit for the article and Federica for help). Pic is by TDW (Curacao 2007).

Top Models make their show
Luxembourg: semifinal of “Luxembourg Top model” took place on sunday night at the Red Club. The last parade before the final on the 29th November at Verso -
Hollerich distric was seething sunday night during the parade of “Top Luxembourg” contestants. About 140 girls from 16 to 26 years old were in fact expected to parade on the podium facing a jury of experts. “I came to support the team trying to bring my little stone to the building” Michel Fouarge explains – Luxembourger, he once was a model too - “It's time for the next generetion” adds.
For the occasion, the Red Club was turned into a real window on fashion. Trendy shoes, last fashion jeans, assorted bags, earrings, up to the famous branded belt encrusted with rhinestone, everything making fashion was gathered on and around the podium. Organisation had made a very hard program for apprentice models.
Four fashion shows in four different outfits for boys and girls sorted by age categories (14-16 and 17-26). Building up the whole the week to the big final on sunday night, contestants paraded without complexes facing an attentive audience and a very hard-working jury. “I think some of them certainly will have a future in this job. But I'm not a specialist” commented the racer Andy Schleck.
Judging by our information, the younger of the Schleck brothers wasn't wrong.
At least eight girls and three boys have already been noticed by agents sponsoring the event. But they have still to do the hardest work: to keep on to join the fashion world.


Intervista a Fränk Amstel 2007

Da Dailypeloton del 4/21/2007
Intervista a Fränk Schleck prima della Amstel Gold 2007
Domani si svolgerà la quarantaduesima Amstel Gold Race. L'anno passato la corsa è stata vinta dal corridore della CSC Fränk Schleck (Luxembourg). Prima della corsa in cui è il campione uscente Bart Hazen ha fatto due chiacchiere con lui.
Bart Hazen: Come ti senti?
Fränk Schleck: Sto bene. Mi sento proprio bene, il tempo è bello e io sono eccitato dall'idea di correre l'Amstel domani.
Com'è andata per te la Vuelta a Pais Vasco ?
Fränk Schleck: La Pais Vasco è una corsa dura. Non ho mai visto una corsa dura come questa. Ha salite dure ma io sono stato sempre davanti e mi sentivo davvero bene.
Cosa di aspetti per domani?
Fränk: Devi sempre stare davanti al gruppo. Non importa se piove o c'è il sole. L'importante è che corriamo bene come squadra. Ci aspettiamo una corsa dura soprattutto nella la parte finale della corsa che comincia sul Kruisberg. Poi, sarà sempre dura sul Eyserbosweg, dovewhere Michael probabilmente attaccherà, è la sua salita. Di solito non è la mossa decisiva, ma da qui in poi i capitani si ritrovano insieme a combattere per la vittoria.
Bart: Quali sono le tue ambizioni per domani?
Fränk: Spero di riuscire a vincere di nuovo questa corsa. Devo arrivare solo nel finale; questo sarebbe lo scenario perfetto. La mia preparazione è stata buona e la mia forma è OK!
Bart: Chi vedi come il rivale più pericoloso nella corsa di domani?
Fränk: Sicuramente Michael Boogerd. Sarà ancora una volta molto motivato perché è l'ultima Amstel della sua carriera. Sono sicuro che la Rabobank farà la corsa dura. Poi ci saranno Davide Rebellin, Samuel Sanchez, Alejandro Valverde e Stefan Schumacher.
Bart: Sei più forte dell'anno scorso?
Fränk: Mi sento più forte e ho fatto progressi. Se credi in te stesso – e io ci credo – diventi più forte.
Karsten Kroon è uno dei capitani della tua squadra per l'Amstel come per le classiche delle Ardennes. Cosa ne pensi?
Fränk: Karsten Kroon è un corridore molto buono e molto forte. Era molto forte nella squadra l'anno scorso. Mi piacerebbe molto [I would love] aiutarlo a vincere la corsa. Kroon ha un sacco di talento e con un po' più di fo
rtuna avrebbe potuto vincere più corse.
Bart: Quale sarà la tattica della squadra per l'Amstel domani?
Fränk: Non lo so. Io e Karsten siamo i capitani domani. Ma anche Jens Voigt è in gran forma, ha vinto il Criterium International e una tappa alla Vuelta a Pais Vasco. Dobbiamo rendere la corsa molto dura, il che è realistico. Voglio una corsa dura per sfiancare qualcuno degli avversari.
Bart: La tua vittoria all'Amstel Gold Race cambia qualcosa?
Fränk: L'Amstel Gold Race è stata più emozionante e intensa della mia vittoria sull'Alpe D’Huez.La squadra e la mia famiglia mi hanno motivato e io li ho ricambiati in qualche modo vincendo queste corse.
Bart: Quali corse hai in programma dopo l'Amstel e le classiche dell'Ardennes?
Fränk: Correrò il Tour of Romandie. Dopo il Romandie farò un break per circa due settimane. Poi farò il Bayern Rundfahrt, il Tour de Suisse e il Campionato Nazionale prima del Tour de France. Non correrò il Tour of Luxembourg perché non s'incastra nel mio programma.
Bart: Quali obiettivi hai dopo Amstel, Fleche Wallonne e Liege-Bastogne-Liege?
Fränk: Mi piacerebbe far bene al Tour de Romandie. Arrivare nei primi 10 sarebbe bello. Ma il mio obiettivo principale sarà sicuramente il Tour de France. Spero di arrivare nei primi tre al Tour una volta o l'altra. Per me è un sogno. Se non uno non ha più obiettivi o sogni, tanto vale che lasci perdere.
Bart: Quali sono le tue ambizioni per il Tour de France di quest'anno?
Fränk: Carlos Sastre è il nostro corridore per la classifica generale. Io ho il compito d i aiutare Carlos nel miglior modo possible. Spero di riuscire a vincere di nuovo una tappa e magari a piazzarmi fra i primi.
Parlando della tua famiglia, dicono che tuo fratello Andy ha più talento di te. Che te ne pare?
Fränk: E' vero! Io l'ho detto alla stampa anche in passato. Andy ha un enorme talento e in bici è molto forte. Adesso deve trovare la propria strada per fare il salto di qualità.
Bart: Parlando di tuo padre (Johnny Schleck), è dura chiamarsi Schleck?
Fränk: Non è facile. Se non vinco fanno il paragone con mio padre. Ma io ho vinto corse che mio padre non ha mai vinto nella sua carriera. (Ride)
Bart: Ultima domanda: quando hai capito che stavi vincendo l'Amstel l'anno scorso l'emozione e l'adrenalina ti hanno fatto sentire meno la fatica (pain)?
Fränk: La fatica la senti sempre. Non sono mai in bici senza fatica. Ma hai ragione: nel momento in cui stai per vincere dimentichi la fatica.
Grazie per la conversazione, Fränk, e buona fortuna per domani!!
Ndt: nelle foto: Amstel 2006, Alpe d'Huez 2007, Curacao 2007 (non c'entra, ma...)

Il primo amore non si scorda mai...

da www.gazzetta.it
Sconto per Emanuele Sella la procura chiede un anno


Vital questions about Fränk

Immagini come questa ci portano a interrogarci su una serie di questioni vitali:
1) cosa sta leggendo Fränk?
2) perché una persona che ha un indubbio buon gusto in altri campi sceglie pantaloncini così brutti? E' mal consigliato? glie li regala Martine?
3) perché Fränk si spoglia spesso e volentieri - per la gioia delle fungirls - mentre Andy giusto se deve entrare in acqua? Andy è un po' timido o mi sbaglio?
Traslation: pics like this make me ask about vital questions:
1) What is reading Fränk?
2) Why a man who has a good taste like him chooses swimming trunks so ugly? He's bad advised? These ones are Martine present?
3) Why Fränk is often undressed - for fungirls happyness - whereas Andy only in the water? Andy is a little shy or I'm wrong?


Andy a Varese... come l'abbiamo visto noi

Siamo partiti da Firenze il sabato mattina, io, mio figlio (anni 6, tifoso di Bruseghin) e mio marito, ciclista ecologista contrario all'agonismo, che però ne approfittava per sbrigare delle commissioni a Milano, sua città natale. I preparativi erano cominciati molto prima, con l'acquisto del biglietto on line – sembra facile ma... - e la preparazione di un grosso striscione. Come ho già scritto in questo blog, io avrei preferito un ALLEZ ANDY!, ma doveri di madre mi hanno costretto a comprare due teli con i colori della Lampre e del nastro adesivo bianco per scrivere FORZA BRUS! Mio marito, seppure in polemica con noi, aveva cucito a macchina i teli e fatto gli orli. Ripiegato con cura, lo striscione occupava metà dell'unico zaino che potevamo portare. Per il resto: abiti di ricampio in caso di pioggia, cibarie, acqua, La Settimana Enigmistica per ingannare il tempo fra un passaggio e l'altro dei corridori, la macchina fotografica per cercare – almeno cercare! - di immortalarne qualcuno.
Arrivati a Milano per l'ora di cena, un po' traumatizzati dal traffico e dall'aggressività degli indigeni – eppure anche a Firenze non si scherza... - ci eravamo procurati del Kebab e ce l'eravamo mangiato nella cucinetta disadorna della casa popolare in cui, fino a poco tempo fa, abitava mio suocero. E' morto in casa di cura e mio marito approfittava della trasferta per portare via le cose recuperabili e buttare le altre. Stanchi ed eccitati avevamo steso i sacchi a pelo sui materassi nudi accatastati sul letto e avevamo cercato di dormire. Mio figlio, nella sua 'cuccia' sul pavimento – materasso e sacco a pelo – era quello che ci riusciva meglio.
La sveglia era suonata molto molto presto, alle 5.30. Un'ultima sistemata allo zaino, colazione in un bar-pasticceria indiano aperto probabilmente dalla sera prima e poi in tram alla stazione Cadorna. Era freddo, il cielo ancora nero si mostrava sereno. In stazione avevamo trovato subito il treno per Varese e perfino uno stuart del Mondiale che si era svegliato in ritardo e ci avrebbe guidato diritti diritti sulla salita dei Ronchi.
Via via che il treno si avvicinava a Varese, fermando in ogni stazioncina, s'ingrossava il numero dei viaggiatori che evidentemente avevano la nostra stessa destinazione: il Mondiale di Ciclismo su strada, prova in linea uomini elite. Erano per lo più italiani, moltissimi ovviamente lombardi, però c'erano anche svizzeri, tedeschi, francesi, qualche spagnolo, moltissimi olandesi. Molti avevano con sé bandiere o sciarpe della loro nazione oppure striscioni col nome del loro campione.
Ed eccoci a Varese! La strada è un fiume di gente che soltanto a fatica volontari e soldati incanalano dietro le transenne. Le case e i negozi sono tutte imbandierate e piene di striscioni, molti inneggianti a Paolo Bettini che oggi cerca di vincere il terzo mondiale di fila. Anche gli stranieri non scherzano: qua e là sui prati ci sono vere e proprie roccaforti di lussemburghesi superattrezzati, di tedeschi, olandesi, perfino norvegesi con la faccia dipinta e le corna da vichinghi. Non sono ancora le nove, la strada è ancora aperta e percorsa in su e in giù da centinaia di ciclisti venuti da ogni dove. Due o tre slarghi sono stati occupati da camper e tende. C'è un bel sole.
Io espoloro il percorso con mio figlio, che mi trotterella accanto assonnato ma tutto contento.
- Piazziamoci nel punto più ripido della salita – gli dico – così riusciamo a vederli bene -, - Perché lì passano più piano, vero? -, - Un po' più piano, sì – rispondo, sapendo che passeranno veloce comunque. A casa il videoregistratore è già stato programmato e al ritorno potremo vedere quello che ci siamo persi. Non siamo qui per 'vedere', ma per 'vivere' questa corsa, per respirarne le emozioni. Mi fermerei volentieri in cima ai Ronchi, dove sventolano tutte queste bandiere del Lussemburgo e tutti questi vessilli dello Schleck Funclub, oppure poco sotto, dove la pendenza è massima, ma ho bisogno di un posto abbastanza largo e comodo da permettere al mio bambino di scorrazzare e abbastanza ripido da permetterci di seguire per un istante i corridori da dietro la transenna. Scendiamo ancora, là sotto s'intravede il lago, sulla curva, ancora bandiere del Lussemburgo e una ragazza con una maglietta bianca con la foto di Andy Schleck. Dall'altra parte della strada c'è il prato, poco oltre, gabinetti chimici e maxischermo. OK, ci siamo: è il posto giusto.
Un gruppo di simpatici ragazzi tifosi del Grillo hanno recintato un pezzetto di prato per piantarci la tenda, sistemarci l'auto – tappezzata di poster di Bettini – e perfino una panca di legno! Il sole picchia già sodo e loro, a torso nudo, contrattano con i volontari una grigliata: lì il fuoco non si può accendere, ma nelle retrovie... Si sa che i tifosi del ciclismo sono abituati a lunghi bivacchi liberi sui tornanti di montagna e oggi mal sopportano di dover sottostare a tanti divieti – oltre ad aver pagato un biglietto, per di più salato.
C'è anche un camper con tanto di parabola: ma che senso ha venire a bordo strada e poi seguire la corsa in tv? Ogni tanto, però, fa comodo sbirciare per sapere cosa sta succedendo lontano dalla nostra salita. Noi intanto sistemiamo sulla transenna il nostro striscione FORZA BRUS! Riscuotendo subito il sostegno dei nostri compagni d'avventura: Bruseghin sta simpatico a tutti! Mentre mio figlio corre a rotta di collo su e giù per la scarpatella erbosa ale spalle della strada, io mi metto a chiacchierare con un ragazzo amico di Pastonesi che conosce Bruseghin. Dopo un po' siamo tanti dietro alla transenna, la corsa è già iniziata, giù all'ippodromo trasformato in stadio del ciclismo, e mi ritrovo a far pronostici con un ferratissimo amico di Garzelli, ex corridore. Dall'altra parte della strada tedeschi e lussemburghesi fanno un gran chiasso, la ragazza con la maglietta bianca, lunghi capelli neri, passa accanto alla tenda dei fan di Bettini, uno tenta disinvolto l'imbrocco e gli altri: - Ma quella tiene per gli Slek! - e lui: - La gnocca è la gnocca! -. La ragazza non li degna e raggiunge quello che probabilmente è il suo fidanzato: un bel ragazzo in maglia gialla CSC. I bettiniani non demordono: hanno tappezzato pali e transenne con cartelli multilingue con scritto W LA GNOCCA. Dall'altra parte della strada ci sono quelli del Bettini Fun Club, assai più composti, e i tifosi di Ivan Basso, con simpatiche magliette “Io punto in Basso”.
Ora soldati e volontari sono nervosi, l'elicottero è sul lago, il gruppo si avvicina. Chi tenta di attraversare si becca una sgridata. Da sotto si sente il boato dei tifosi, incomprensibile l'audio del maxi schermo. E sono qui, davanti a noi. E' partita una fuga a tre: c'è anche il lussemburghese Poos. A distanza arrivano gli inseguitori, fra i quali riconosciamo gli italiani e qualche faccia nota. Andy e Fränk sono davanti, in buona posizione. Io ho la macchina fotografica pronta, ma i risultati sono così deludenti che dopo qualche giro mi arrendo: meglio godermi i passaggi che sprecare tempo dietro al mirino.
Passano le ore, ma la situazione non cambia: il gruppo sta lasciando un po' troppo vantaggio a questa fuga? Per adesso lo spettacolo non c'è e ci si diverte a incoraggiare gli ultimi, coraggiosi corridori di paesi in cui è un'avventura sopravivere, figuriamoci arrivare fin qui! Poi, improvvisamente, il ritmo sale. Adesso i passaggi sono più ravvicinati e, nostante la salita, il gruppo degli inseguitori sfreccia a tutta. Mio figlio è entusiasta: a tirare c'è uno splendido Bruseghin.
Non starò a raccontare le ultime concitate fasi della corsa, con gli attacchi a ripetizione di Rebellin, Cunego e Ballan; con il geniale 'piano B' Bettini-Ballerini e la sparata fenomenale del neocampione del mondo. Noi le vivevamo in differita, col passaparola dal maxischermo fino alle transenne, e poi in diretta, quando mio padre telefona da casa per farmi ascoltare l'audio della corsa in tv... Mentre il pubblico a bordo strada esplode e comincia a sciamare verso il maxischermo per godersi l'arrivo in solitaria di un mitico Ballan, noi facciamo fagotto. Le immagini, sullo schermo, sono sgranate e controluce, ma capiamo lo stesso che la nazionale italiana ha compiuto un'impresa. Niente da dire, nonostante il nostro scarso patriottismo. Personalmente sono contenta per il terzo posto di Matti Breschel.
Ma la storia che voglio raccontare è quella di Andy a Varese come l'abbiamo visto noi. Sapevamo che i fratelli Schleck non erano in gran forma: al Giro di Polonia avevano preso tanta, tanta, tanta acqua e Fränk si era dovuto ritirare per la febbre, mentre Andy si era piazzato molto indietro. Per di più nei giorni del Mondiale il loro albergo era stato perquisito per ore, dalle 22 alle 4 del mattino, alla ricerca di sostanze che, ancora una volta, non sono state trovate. Se la forma fisica non era buona, mancava anche la tranquillità. Per la prima volta il Lussemburgo riusciva a schierare una squadra completa al Mondiale, ma il livello dei corridori non era affatto omogeneo. Perciò non mi aspettavo miracoli. Speravo semplicemente di vederli da vicino, anche soltanto per quella frazione di secondo e, magari, di fare qualche foto.
Quest'ultima ambizione è stata rapidamente cassata, ma avevo con me il prospetto della Gazzetta – invidiatissimo! - con i numeri di tutti i corridori. Per quanto risultava da lì Fränk aveva il 63, Andy il 64 e Kroon il 65. Identificato il lussemburghese in fuga, era facile riconoscere nel gruppo i fratelli Schleck, a volte ben coperti, altre davanti a tirare. Certo, con Kroon in fuga... Ma era stato subito evidente che raggiungerlo per dargli il cambio non sarebbe stato possibile. Riposta la macchina fotografica, mi accontentavo di seguire il numero 64 sulla parte finale della salita e mi sembrava già bello condividere con lui quel tratto di spazio, respirare la stessa aria e sudare sotto lo stesso sole.
A pochi giri dalla fine, quando gli italiani hanno imposto un ritmo davvero infernale per scrollarsi di dosso i velocisti tipo Freire e Boonen, il gruppo si è spaccato, gli Schleck sono rimasti indietro e proprio davanti a me, a mezzo metro da me, Andy si è quasi fermato!! Avessi avuto la macchina in mano, avrei potuto fotografarlo tranquillamente. I lussemburghesi assiepati dietro alla transenna, incuranti della situazione poco felice, sembravano impazziti: sventolavano le bandiere gridando Allez Andy! Allez Andy! Ma c'era poco da fare: al giro dopo Andy ci è passato davanti sull'ammiraglia. Fränk, invece, è arrivato col gruppo di Bettini, Zabel etc. Lo si vede alle loro spalle, non molto soddisfatto.
Com'era Andy dal vivo? BELLO!! A vedermelo davanti sono rimasta così sorpresa da non avere nemmeno la voce per chiamarlo!


Mondorf: un villaggio sulla Luna!

L'amministrazione comunale di Mondorf ha assegnato un premio ai suoi sportivi più meritevoli... e ovviamente i fratelli Schleck non potevano mancare!


Andy Schleck: l'avvenire del ciclismo

Da Velo del 25/10/2008 Intervista a Andy Schleck sul Tour 2009
“Il lussemburghese Andy Schleck (Team CSC-Saxo Bank) è uno di quei corridori che il grande pubblico ha scoperto grazie al Tour de France. L'estate scorsa, ancor prima della partenza della Grande Boucle, alcuni media avevano fatto del ragazzo il loro favorito per la vittoria finale. Un anno dopo aver conquistato il secondo posto sul podio del Giro d'Italia dietro a Danilo Di Luca, Andy Schleck suscitava già molta ammirazione. A fronte di questo, il lussemburghese ha fatto una riuscita più umile al Tour de France: dodicesimo, ma comunque miglior giovane e com'è noto terzo nella tappa dell'Alpe d'Huez. A 23 anni, Andy Schleck incarna l'avvenire del ciclismo. E il percorso del Tour de France 2009 potrebbe assecondare bene le ambizioni di uno come lui, che ha sempre mostrato un'ottima forma nella terza settimana.
Andy, che idea vi siete fatto del percorso del Tour de France 2009?
"A prima vista direi che sono molto contento di questo percorso. Non c'è tanta crono. Ci sarà una crono a squadre molto adatta alla mia squadra, la CSC. La crono di Annecy però sarà abbastanza dura. Conosco un po' quella regione e posso dire che non si tratterà di una cronometro per passisti.”
Lì ci si può giocare il Tour?
"Penso che questo Tour de France 2009 si giocherà soprattutto in montagna. L'ultima tappa di montagna sarà ancora una volta molto difficile. Penso che il Ventoux sia una delle salite più dure della Francia. Piazzato così alla fine della terza settimana del Tour, sarà molto dura, visto che la terza settimana di corsa è sempre la più difficile”
Con il Ventoux il sabato, gli organizzatori hanno puntato sulla suspense. Per un corridore può significare giocarsi il tutto per tutto?
"Penso che effettivamente non ci sarà niente da fare prima di quest'ultima tappa di montagna. Sarà un po' come quest'anno. Su una salita come quella del Ventoux, uno può perdere facilmente cinque minuti in tre, quattro chilometri. Nell'ultima settimana del Tour non si sa mai come recupereranno i corridori. Ma io sono contento di questo percorso perché l'ultima settimana spesso tende a favorirmi. Mi ci sento bene. E' successo al Giro d'Italia l'anno scorso e quest'anno al Tour de France."
Vi ritroviamo radioso eppure le ultime settimane non sono state facili per voi e per la vostra squadra. Come avete vissuto queste ore di sospetto?
"C'è stato un effetto incredibile nei media. I corridori della mia squadra sono stati fatti oggetto di sospetto. Ma io so perfettamente come lavoriamo. Non ho mai avuto paura di quello che diceva la stampa.”
Alcune facce, come quella di Bernhard Kohl, non sono apparse nelle immagini proiettate alla presentazione del Tour 2009. Voi come reagite?
"Io penso che sia normale. Nuovi controlli hanno permesso di rintracciare la CERA e io concordo pienamente con il discorso di Christian Prudhomme. Io trovo che ciò che ha detto in occasione della presentazione del percorso del Tour 2009 è giusto.”
Cosa pensate del ritorno di Lance Armstrong?
"Ha vinto sette Tours e io penso che cercherà di vincere l'ottavo. Penso che sia una buona cosa per l'immagine del Tour de France. Lance Armstrong, è quasi un monumento. Sono molto contento all'idea di sfidarlo. Per me è l'ultimo grande campione del ciclismo."
E lo vedete ritornare al massimo livello?
"Lui sa molto bene che il suo ritorno al massimol livello non sarà facile, ma io dico: perché no? E' vero che non corre da tre anni ma può tornare e questo non mi crea alcun problema."
Dichiarazioni raccolte a Paris il 22 ottobre 2008.


Intervista a Andy Giro d'Italia 2007

Da Velo del 25/5/2007 intervista a Andy Schleck durante il Giro d'Italia 2007
Ci siamo abituati a parlare di Fränk Schleck. Ed ecco che facciamo la scoperta del suo fratellino Andy, cinque anni più piccolo di lui. Apperendista da due anni nel Team CSC, non ha atteso molto a riportare i suoi primi successi fra i pro se si somma il suo titolo di campione nazionale a cronometro, vinto nel 2005, con l'ultimo Tour de Saxe, con due vittorie di tappa. Abbastanza maturo tuttavia rispetto ai suoi coetanei da essere giudicato adatto a partecipare al suo primo Grand Tour, anche se festeggerà il suo ventiduesimo compleanno soltanto il 10 Giugno prossimo, possiede enormi capacità. E' semplicemente sorprendente vedere quanto assimila in fretta il suo mestiere, e dunque i trucchi del mestiere. "Posso assicurarvi che ha una testa eccellente. E' semplice, basti dire che lavora ancora più duramente di Fränk. Abbiamo a che fare con un vero stakhanovista", dixit il suo direttore sportivo Kim Andersen.
Solo ad aver tenuto le ruote di Danilo Di Luca, Riccardo Riccò et Damiano Cunego su le pendenze di Montevergine e Nostra Signora della Guardia, il giovane lussemburghese si presenta come un serio outsider. Le sue qualità potranno farne un avversario del leader, ma anche un favorito per la maglia bianca?
Andy, siete soddisfatto della vostra settimana e mezzo a questo Giro ?
"Sapevo di avere una buona forma e finalmente tutto ha funzionato bene. Accumulo fiducia in me stesso, e, parola mia, questo mi riesce.”
Sulla salita di Nostra Signora della Guardia, stavate per riprendere Leonardo Piepoli, ma non siete riuscito a rientrare...
"Infatti, mi sono gestito male, e attaccato troppo forte allo stesso tempo. Ho dato troppo all'inizio. E' vero: aspettando un po' avrei avuto modo di andare a cercare un piazzamento migliore e, perché no la vittoria.”
Vi siete un po' sorpreso di questa vostra prestazione?
"Sì e no. Conosco quanto meno le mie possibilità e i miei mezzi. Sono lucido [Je suis bien dans la tête] e non ho pressioni. Mi correggerò, questo è certo, e sicuramente troverò un varco.”
Cosa vi aspettate per l'alta montagna?
"Non mi spaventa per niente. Tengo bene le ruote e salgo di potenza. Sono immensamente felice di fare la scoperta di un Grand Tour”
L'assalto alla maglia bianca allora è partito?
"Mi andrebbe bene. Si cercherà d conservarla. Sarebbe già un bel trofeo alla mia giovane età.”
E quella rosa?
"Attenzione, trovo che questo sarebbe forse un po' troppo presuontuoso. Quanto meno ci sono dei grandi avversari. Io vivo un sogno qui in Italia...”
Ciò non toglie che molti osservatori vi considerano come il grande outsider...
"Ci sono ancora da passare i tapponi di montagna. Presto ci si vedrà più chiaro. In ogni caso, darò tutto per non avere niente da rimpiangere dopo.”
Avete intenzione di tentare un colpo come quello di vostro fratello Fränk sull'Alpe d'Huez al Tour 2006?
"Partire in fuga da lontano non fa parte della mia strategia in questo Giro, nè di quella dei miei direttori sportivi. Devo piuttosto vedermela faccia a faccia con i diretti avversari nelle difficoltà che si presenteranno”
Sembra che abbiate già preso sicurezza e spessore dopo la partenza in Sardegna.
“E' vero, lo penso anch'io. Ma era un momento che attendevo da mesi. Voglio viverlo pienamente fino a Milano.”
Avete già guadagnato il ruolo di leader della vostra squadra.
"E' certo e ne sono felice. I compagni di squadra sono molto buoni ed è un piacere essere in questo gruppo. Io seguo scrupolosamente tutti i consigli che mi vengono dati.”
La vittoria di Kurt-Asle Arvesen è stata festeggiata immagino.
"Abbiamo cantato veramente tanto ed è stato un gran momento di cameratismo fra di noi."
Cosa rispondete a chi vi vedono in futuro ancora migliore di vostro fratello Fränk?
"Io non sono ancora al livello di Fränk. Ho ancora della strada da fare per ottenere i suoi risultati. Staremo a vedere.”
Dichiarazioni raccolte a Serravalle Scrivia da Jean-François Modery.
Nella foto grande, Andy con il Fanclub italiano. A proposito: che fine avete fatto?