11.30.2009

Article by Wurt.lu

I must thanks very much my Anonimous reader for that link: it's a long and nice article and I'm able to understand more or less what they say in it... but my Lux is too week to provide a good translation to share with you so... you can find a partial English translation on My Blog (thanks Fede!!).
ps: the pic is by Serge Waldbillig and I really like it.
http://www.wort.lu/wort/web/sport/artikel/59394/moechte-die-tour-de-france-einmal-gewinnen.php

Sieg bei der Tour de France ist das große Ziel

Der 24-Jährige kann es kaum erwarten, in die kommende Saison zu starten Von Joe Geimer

Die erholsamen Tage der Saxo-Bank-Profis sind ab heute definitiv passé. Teamchef Bjarne Riis und Trainer und Ausbilder BS Christiansen werden die Fahrer in den kommenden Tagen im berühmten Survivalcamp vor schwierige Tests stellen. Auch Andy Schleck wird auf Fuerteventura vor Ort sein. Der 24-Jährige strotzt vor Tatendrang.„Selten habe ich mich so darauf gefreut, dass die Vorbereitung auf die kommende Saison richtig beginnt. Ich bin extem motiviert und freue mich, die Teamkollegen wiederzusehen“, schilderte der Tour-Zweite kürzlich seine Gefühlslage. Die ungewöhnlich lange Pause hat dem unkomplizierten Mondorfer gut getan. Die Zufriedenheit ist ihm ins Gesicht geschrieben. Nach der für ihn enttäuschend verlaufenen WM in Mendrisio (CH) („Die Welttitelkämfe waren ein Debakel. Ich hätte gar nicht erst starten sollen. Ich hatte mich zwar vorbereitet, doch im Kopf war ich leer“) zog er einen Schlussstrich unter die Radsport-Saison.

Bei einer von Dexia-BIL organisierten Diskussionsrunde war er zu Gast. Dort analysierte er die vergangenen radsport-freien Wochen: „Ich kann es kaum erwarten. Die Saison 2010 kann kommen, ich bin heiß. Der Verzicht auf die italienischen Klassiker im Oktober war richtig. Die Ferien in Curaçao haben mir richtig gut getan.“ Zusammen mit seinen Brüdern und Mutter Gaby erholte sich der Liège-Bastogne-Liège-Gewinner von einer anstrengenden Saison: „Abschalten ist wichtig, die Gedanken dürfen sich nicht nur permanent um den Radsport drehen.“

Konkret sieht dies für den Ausnahmesportler so aus, dass er sich Zeit für seine Hobbies nimmt: Statt Fahrrad fahren stehen Jagen, Fischen, Schwimmen und Treffen mit Freunden auf der Tagesordnung. Doch diese Wochen, in denen der Akku im Hinblick auf die Saison 2010 aufgefüllt wird, sind nun quasi vorbei. Das intensive Training hat wieder begonnen, dabei zeigte sich der 24-Jährige extrem motiviert. „Ich habe einige interessante Einheiten absolviert. U. a. habe ich zusammen mit Fränk eine Fahrt von sechs Stunden abgespult. Das ist mir bisher noch nie passiert“, erklärte A. Schleck stolz.

„Eine interessante Erfahrung“

Auf der Kanaren-Insel Fuerteventura wartet während einer knappen Woche das so genannte Teambuilding auf die Saxo-Bank-Profis. Anschließend absolviert die gesamte Mannschaft noch ein traditionelles Trainingslager. „Das Survivalcamp ist schon eine interessante Erfahrung. Man weiß nie, was einen erwartet. Bjarne und Co. denken sich immer etwas Neues aus. Man lernt, bis an seine eigenen Grenzen zu gehen und sich zu überwinden. Teamgeist und Zusammenhalt werden gefördert. Nur im Kollektiv sind verschiedene Aufgaben zu bewältigen. Führungsqualitäten kristallieren sich dann schnell heraus“, so Andy, der 2010 bereits in seine sechste Saison als Profi geht.

Eine Anekdote konnte er sich nicht verkneifen: „2006 waren wir in Südafrika. Ich war zusammen mit Bobby Julich in einem Zimmer und wir haben darauf gewartet, dass der Startschuss des Survival-Camps fällt. Wir schauten uns am Abend einen Film an und rechneten damit, dass wir kurz nach Mitternacht geweckt würden. Gegen 2 Uhr sahen wir einen Mann in Militäruniform an unserer Zimmertür vorbeigehen. Wir machten uns bereit, doch letztendlich sollte es noch bis 6 Uhr dauern. Bobby und ich hatten nicht geschlafen. Wir waren also dementsprechend müde und das Camp hatte noch nicht einmal begonnen. Solche Fehler mache ich aber jetzt nicht mehr.“ Zum Galaabend des Sportpresseverbands in Bad Mondorf (10. Dezember) kehrt A. Schleck nach Luxemburg zurück, anschließend geht er – ähnlich wie 2007 zwischen Paris-Nice und dem Critérium International – noch einige Tage Ski fahren. Im Kreis der Familie lässt er sein erfolgreichstes Radsport-Jahr dann ausklingen.

Die Fans werden das Jahr 2009 vor allem wegen zwei außergewöhnlichen Resultaten in Erinnerung behalten. Nach seinem Triumph beim Klassiker Liège-Bastogne-Liège und Platz zwei in der Tour-de-France-Gesamtwertung konnte der 24-Jährige sich vor Lobeshymnen und Glückwünschen kaum noch retten. „In Liège habe ich mir einen Traum erfüllt. Auch wegen der Art und Weise des Erfolges war dies ein ganz besonderer Moment“, wird er nicht müde zu behaupten. Und bei der „Grande Boucle“ hielt er eine ganze Nation in Atem. Letztendlich war nur Alberto Contador (E/Astana) besser. Auch im Hinblick auf die Frankreich-Rundfahrt im kommenden Jahr kristallisiert sich erneut ein Duell mit dem 26-jährigen Spanier heraus.

Die beiden sind zwar Rivalen, doch verstehen sich privat sehr gut: „Alberto ist ein ganz einfacher, bodenständiger Typ, mit dem man viel lachen kann. Er ist einfach sympathisch und wir sind Kumpels. Leider ist er auf dem Fahrrad bärenstark. Er ist vielleicht das größte Talent der letzten zehn Jahre. Schade, dass ich gerade jetzt auf ihn treffen muss. Unschlagbar ist er aber nicht“, analysierte A. Schleck vor wenigen Tagen.

„Möchte die Tour gewinnen“

Die Tour de France ist auch in Zukunft das große Ziel: „Ich möchte die Rundfahrt zumindest einmal in meiner Karriere gewinnen. Ich werde alles versuchen, dieser Ambition gerecht zu werden. Vor allem im Zeitfahren muss ich noch Fortschritte machen. Ich arbeite hart an meinen Defiziten und verbessere mich ständig. Denke ich an die Tour, kribbelt es bereits in meinen Beinen. Dieses Rennen ist einfach speziell, schon alleine wegen des Zusammenhalts im Team. Man lebt zusammen und leidet zusammen. Dieses Jahr war ich wirklich traurig als es vorbei war. Am vorletzten Tag hatte ich mit meinen Emotionen zu kämpfen.

Da freut man sich drei Wochen lang auf das kühle Bier auf den Champs-Elysées und wenn es dann so weit ist, überwiegt die Traurigkeit, dass es nun vorbei ist.“ Der TdF-Parcours kommt ihm im nächsten Jahr entgegen: „Relativ viele Anstiege und wenige Kilometer gegen die Uhr. Dementsprechend zuversichtlich bin ich. Vor allem auch die ersten Etappen werden interessant werden. Die Kopfsteinpflaster-Passagen in Nordfrankreich können einen schnell den Gesamtsieg kosten. Vorsicht ist geboten. Wir werden diese Etappen ausführlich besichtigen.“

In die Saison wird Andy zusammen mit seinem Bruder Fränk bei der Mallorca-Challenge (7.-11. Februar) starten. Ansonsten wird sich am Programm wenig ändern. „Die Flandern-Rundfahrt (4. April) ist zwar ein Thema, doch datumtechnisch liegt sie ungelegen. Am folgenden Tag beginnt nämlich die Baskenland-Rundfahrt (5. bis 10 April). Im Hinblick auf die Ardennen-Klassiker ist dies das optimale Vorbereitungsrennen“, so A. Schleck, der in absoluter Topform über einen Ruhepuls von 28 Schlägen pro Minute verfügt.

Allez Saxo Bank!!

Waiting for news from SB Surviving Camp 2009 we can enjoy a new SB win, this time on the trak: we are very proud of our guys!!
http://www.team-saxobank.com/ny_news.asp?lang=uk&n_id=2583
Michael Mørkøv And Alex Rasmussen Conquered Ghent
[29.11 19:20] Team Saxo Bank Danish World Champions on the track, Alex Rasmussen and Michael Mørkøv, took the overall victory of the six-day race in Ghent.
With a narrow margin of just three points ahead of the Belgian/German couple, Keisse/Kluge, the Danes took the gold when they won back yesterday's lost lap by taking a bonus sprint:

"By winning a bonus sprint, we brought ourselves in a situation where we should didn't need to worry about struggling to gain a lap. We did a clever finale where the other couples were attacking one another. We could save our strength for the final. It is clearly the biggest victory we have won. It is incredibly difficult to win away and especially here in the strongest field of all, where the prestige is enormous. The victory means that we have shown the other riders that we have the stamimna for all six days. It gives us a strong confidence which can be used in future races”, said a delighted Michael Mørkøv after the victory.

The Danish couple has previously won the six-day race in Grenoble twice.

1. Rasmussen/Mørkøv (Danmark) 450 p

2. Keisse (BELG)/Kluge (GER) 447 p
3. Risi/Marvulli (Swiss) 408 p
4. Stam (Holland)/Lampater (GER) 254 p

1 lap
5. De Ketele (Belg)/Schep (Holland) 235 p

17 laps
6. van Bon (Holland)/Müller(A) 159 p

19 laps
7. O'Shea/Howard (Aus) 200 p

20 laps
8. Aeschbach/Marguet (Swiss) 183 p

11.26.2009

New article by Le quotidien

«Je suis déjà concentré sur le Tour»

Son succès dans Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Ses relations avec son frère Frank et leur avenir commun. Ses ambitions. Son travail hivernal. Alberto Contador. Andy Schleck n'élude rien... Entretien avec notre journaliste Denis Bastien

Nous aurions peut-être pu, nous aurions peut-être dû, commencer notre entretien par cette question-là : dans quel état d'esprit se trouve Andy Schleck alors que la fin de l'année s'annonce? Mais elle est venue ponctuer la fin de cette interview pour confirmer ce que nous avions ressenti au fil des minutes. En cette fin d'année, Andy Schleck se trouve dans les meilleures dispositions. «Jamais, confirme-t-il, je ne me suis senti aussi bien en cette période. J'ai passé mes meilleures vacances à Curaçao, en famille avec mes frères et ma mère. Il ne manquait que mon père. Dommage! Et aujourd'hui, j'ai hâte de me retrouver pour les premiers stages avec mes coéquipiers. Vraiment, je pense que je n'ai jamais été aussi motivé que ça pendant l'hiver...» C'est en effet cette nette impression qui n'a cessé de transpirer dans cet échange qui nous plonge vers 2010...

Andy, vous avez stoppé votre saison fin septembre avec les Mondiaux de Mendrisio. Deux mois après, avez-vous eu le temps d'apprécier une saison marquée par votre succès magistral dans Liège-Bastogne-Liège et votre deuxième place dans le Tour, derrière Alberto Contador?
Andy Schleck : Pour Liège, j'ai accompli un rêve. Sur le moment je n'ai pas bien réalisé car les choses s'étaient enchaînées. Bon, je savais ce que c'était comme classique, quand même. À mon avis, elle est même plus belle que Paris-Roubaix. Je savais que je pouvais la gagner. Après, ça faisait longtemps qu'un coureur ne s'y était pas imposé en démarrant d'assez loin. Je suis fier de ça. Je pense que j'y ai réalisé quelque chose de grand. C'est ce que m'a dit Lance Armstrong pour me féliciter, un jour dans le Tour. "Jamais je n'ai vu un coureur gagner cette classique comme tu l'as fait", m'a-t-il dit. Le compliment m'a fait plaisir, oui, j'étais assez fier...

Puis en juillet, il y eut ce Tour de France. Votre deuxième place, la cinquième place de Frank...

Le super bon moment pour moi, c'est le succès de Frank au Grand Bornand. Cette étape, c'était un truc familial, un truc super, vraiment. C'était émouvant après la chute de Jens Voigt.

Quel a été d'ailleurs votre plus beau souvenir de ce Tour 2009?
Ça peut paraître bizarre mais pour moi, c'est au sommet du mont Ventoux. À un moment, juste après l'étape, sur le podium, j'ai regardé le ciel bleu car il faisait très beau ce jour-là. Et comme il n'y avait pas beaucoup de monde autour de moi, je suis parti dans mes pensées. Je garderai toujours ça en tête. Nous étions la veille de l'arrivée à Paris, il y avait ce ciel bleu et je voyais, au loin, la France qui s'arrondissait. C'était super joli, j'y repense souvent...

Votre Tour de France a encore accéléré votre popularité, déjà grande. Comment vivez-vous cela?
Je ressens une grande fierté pour moi, pour ma famille et mon pays. Un exemple, l'autre jour j'étais en Allemagne. Quelqu'un m'a dit : "Le Luxembourg? Le pays des cyclistes?" Avant, on assimilait le Luxembourg aux banques. Maintenant c'est le cyclisme. Je suis fier de contribuer à ça. Et c'est vrai que c'est devenu une réalité grâce au Tour, évidemment la plus grande course du monde. C'est aussi comme ça qu'on gagne notre argent, j'en ai bien conscience et je ne peux pas m'en plaindre.

C'est ce qu'on appelle la notoriété...
Oui, mais je sais aussi que tout ça peut s'arrêter très vite. Le cyclisme est un sport dangereux. On peut tomber, se blesser. On le voit tous les jours. Prenez le jeune Italien qui vient de mourir accidentellement à l'entraînement (NDLR : il s'agit du champion d'Italie juniors, Anthony Orsoni, décédé dimanche). Tous les jours en course, tu joues ta vie. Il faut parfois penser à ça. Si on se blesse, on peut vite revenir à zéro. Mais, fort heureusement, lorsqu'on sort à l'entraînement, ici, au Luxembourg, on se sent en sécurité. C'est le paradis pour s'entraîner.

Pour revenir une dernière fois sur 2009, le fait de n'avoir pas pu aller au bout de votre Vuelta et de n'avoir pas pu jouer un rôle majeur lors des Mondiaux de Mendrisio constitue-t-il un léger regret pour vous?
En sortant du Tour, je me sentais en pleine forme et j'ai enchaîné les critériums. Puis d'un coup j'ai ressenti la fatigue. Une énorme fatigue. Pendant une semaine, je n'avais plus envie d'entendre parler de vélo. J'étais saturé. Même regarder une course à la télé m'était insupportable. Après, j'ai repris l'entraînement pour repartir sur la Vuelta. Frank me disait : "On va aller sur la Vuelta et puis enchaîner avec les Mondiaux". Et je me suis bien entraîné et présenté au départ de la Vuelta.

Finalement, vous avez été contraint à l'abandon...
Oui, dans la nuit avant une étape (NDLR : il avait abandonné au cours de la 8e étape), j'ai souffert d'une gastrite, j'ai donc décidé de rentrer à la maison. Après, une fois rentré, je me suis entraîné mais, dans ma tête, c'était fini. Je n'avais qu'une envie, celle de partir à la pêche ou de marcher avec mes chiens. Et les Mondiaux ont été un désastre pour moi. Alors, j'ai décidé de ne pas aller plus loin, de faire l'impasse sur le Tour de Lombardie. J'ai dit à Bjarne Riis et Kim Andersen (NDLR : le manager et le directeur sportif de Saxo Bank) : "J'arrête là. Si je veux faire une bonne saison 2010, il faut que je souffle."

Quel est le résultat?
Je peux dire que c'était la bonne décision car jamais je n'ai bossé comme ça. Depuis le retour de vacances, on varie les entraînements. Vendredi, avec Frank on a fait six heures! C'est la première fois que ça m'arrive. On fait de la musculation, de la natation et du vélo.
C'est bien pour établir de bonnes bases. J'ai vraiment envie de reprendre les stages, de rejoindre les potes lors du premier camp (NDLR : le premier stage du team Saxo Bank débute samedi avec le traditionnel camp de survie pour la première semaine suivie d'une semaine de reprise sur le vélo. Auparavant, les frères Schleck seront en représentation avec des sponsors de l'équipe, au Danemark).

On vous sent impatient!
Je suis vraiment content, c'est vrai. D'autant plus qu'on va varier les efforts. J'ai même quatre jours de ski de prévus par après. Je me souviens qu'avant d'aller faire deuxième du Giro en 2007, j'étais allé faire une semaine de ski entre Paris-Nice et le Critérium International...

On sent que le plaisir est revenu...
Je me sens prêt comme jamais, en effet. Je m'entraîne sans stress et je prends donc beaucoup de plaisir. En ce moment, mon truc, c'est de rouler dans les bois sur un vélo de cyclo-cross que m'a monté Specialized. Un petit bijou, ce vélo!

Si on évoque la saison à venir, on peut se dire que votre équipe Saxo Bank semble un peu moins forte. C'est votre avis?
Pour les grandes courses, non, je ne le pense pas. Karsten Kroon était précieux dans les classiques mais avec un gars comme Jakob Fuglsang on sera très forts. Il a fait l'an passé un super boulot pour moi dans Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Kurt-Asle Arvesen est aussi parti.
Il restera toujours un ami à moi également. Comme pour Karsten. Ils sont partis, c'est comme ça dans la vie. On reste amis. Moi aussi, un jour, il se peut que je ne roule plus pour les mêmes couleurs. C'est normal dans une carrière.

Justement, votre contrat court jusqu'à la fin 2010 et on sait que vous êtes très logiquement demandé par les meilleures équipes du monde. On sait que RadioShack s'intéresse d'ailleurs beaucoup à vous...
De toute façon, concernant mon avenir, c'est clair et net, ce ne sera jamais sans Frank! Mon avenir sera toujours lié au sien. Ce sera un package ou rien, quitte à ce que je gagne moins d'argent. Mais le problème ne se pose pas, je suis très content d'être dans cette équipe. Rien qu'à l'idée de retrouver tous mes copains, ça me fait du bien. Votre comportement, au fil des ans a-t-il évolué justement avec vos coéquipiers?
J'en serai déjà à ma sixième saison chez les pros. Je me souviendrai toujours que Bjarne Riis m'a donné ma chance alors que je n'étais rien. Je le remercierai toujours pour ça. Sinon, par rapport à mes coéquipiers, j'aime que les nouveaux pros viennent demander des conseils. Par exemple, lorsqu'ils essaient de calquer leur entraînement sur le mien en début de saison, je n'hésite pas à les déconseiller de le faire. Je leur dis de faire leur programme, avec leurs watts car c'est comme ça qu'on progresse, étape par étape.

On sent en vous une grande maîtrise, en compétition comme en dehors...
J'ai pris pas mal d'expérience mais en course, je me trouve encore trop nerveux. Je ne remercierai jamais assez Frank pour le rôle de guide qu'il tient auprès de moi. Dans le feu de l'action, il voit toujours très bien la course. Il me dit de faire attention à ceci ou cela. J'en suis sûr, sans lui, je n'aurais jamais terminé deuxième du Tour.

Puisque vous parlez de Frank, il expliquait récemment pourquoi lui viserait plutôt Liège-Bastogne-Liège et vous l'Amstel Gold Race. Vous partagez cet avis?
Tout à fait, c'est ce qu'on voudrait réaliser dans l'idéal. Bien sûr, on ne peut pas savoir à l'avance comment les courses vont se passer. Mais j'aimerais bien gagner l'Amstel (NDLR : la classique néerlandaise que Frank a remporté en 2006) alors que Frank a tout ce qu'il faut pour gagner à son tour Liège-Bastogne-liège. Dans tous les cas il faut être à cent pour cent à Liège. C'est pour ça que c'est peut-être trop risqué pour nous de nous aligner auparavant dans le Tour des Flandres. Dans quelques années, pourquoi pas...

Après les classiques viendra votre deuxième objectif, le Tour de France...
Et le Tour, je suis déjà concentré dessus! Pour pouvoir le gagner un jour, car ça reste mon objectif, je sais que je dois encore progresser en contre-la-montre. En ce moment, je bosse beaucoup les jambes, le dos et même les bras même si je ne tiens pas à prendre trop de poids. De toute façon, je pense que j'ai quand même bien progressé, année après année dans les chronos.

L'avance de Contador dans ce domaine sera-t-elle encore importante?
Le but de ma carrière, c'est clairement de remporter le Tour. Et pour le moment, il y a plus fort que moi. Un coureur comme Contador, j'aurais aimé ne pas devoir le croiser. J'aurais bien aimé qu'il soit là dix ans plus tôt! Avec lui, nous tombons sur un très grand talent. Peut-être même qu'il est plus fort que Lance Armstrong.

Comment le battre?
Il montre quelquefois des faiblesses. Comme sur Paris-Nice. Donc il n'est pas imbattable. Pour réussir, nous, on se doit de tout faire à 100%.
Après, je fais ce qui est possible de faire. Si je ne gagne pas et que j'ai fait le maximum, je seraicontent quand même du moment que j'aurai tenté de réussir à gagner le Tour. Et si jamais je ne suis pas sur le podium, je ne mourrai pas de ça. Et pour le moment, le grand favori, ça reste Contador.

Son équipe pourrait-elle être sa faiblesse en juillet prochain?
Non car en 2010, il n'y aura pas de contre-la-montre par équipes. Si jamais il y en avait eu un comme cette année, alors oui, ce serait sa faiblesse. Dans le prochain Tour qui est très montagneux, il suffirapour Alberto d'être entouré de deux, trois grimpeurs. Mais son problème, ce seront les pavés (Ndlr : la troisième étape, le mardi 6 juillet entre Wanze et Arenberg Porte du Hainaut comporte des secteurs pavés). C'est dans cette étape qu'il pourrait souffrir alors que Frank et moi, on pourra compter sur des spécialistes des pavés comme Fabian (Cancellara), Stuart (O'Grady) ou Matti (Breschel). On sait que s'il y a moyen, on va y aller à fond. D'ailleurs, on ira s'entraîner autant qu'il le faudra en reconnaissance sur cette étape.
Denis Bastien

11.25.2009

New article by L'Equipe

La gentille pression d'A.Schleck
Un peu plus de sept mois avant le départ du Tour 2010, les déclarations d'intention et les petites phrases commencent à fleurir dans un peloton dispersé. Deuxième de la Grande Boucle 2009 derrière Alberto Contador, Andy Schleck est revenu dans les colonnes du journal luxembourgeois Le Quotidien sur le profil de la déjà fameuse troisième étape en ligne, reliant Wanze à Arenberg. Et le dernier vainqueur de Liège-Bastogne-Liège de voir dans les secteurs pavés un avantage possible sur son rival espagnol.

«Son problème (à Contador), ce seront les pavés.»

«Dans le prochain Tour qui est très montagneux, il suffira pour Alberto d'être entouré de deux, trois grimpeurs, concède-t-il d'abord. Mais son problème, ce seront les pavés. Il pourrait souffrir alors que Frank et moi, on pourra compter sur des spécialistes des pavés comme Fabian (Cancellara), Stuart (O'Grady) ou Matti (Breschel). On sait que s'il y a moyen, on va y aller à fond. D'ailleurs, on ira s'entraîner autant qu'il le faudra en reconnaissance sur cette étape.» Mais le leader de la Saxo Bank n'est pas dupe et sait qu'Alberto Contador reste le coureur n°1 sur les grands Tours. «Pour le moment, il y a plus fort que moi. Un coureur comme Contador, j'aurais aimé ne pas devoir le croiser. J'aurais bien aimé qu'il soit là dix ans plus tôt ! Avec lui, nous tombons sur un très grand talent. Peut-être même qu'il est plus fort que Lance Armstrong.» Outre le Tour, le cadet des frères Schleck visera également l'Amstel, «laissant» la Doyenne des classiques à son frère. En revanche, le Tour des Flandres ne figurera toujours pas au programme de la fratrie.

Andy's diary of November

Robots have feelings too
This month has been another action-packed adventure, taking in South Beach, alligators in the Everglades, dolphins in Curaçao, swimming with Thor Hushovd, lunch with Alberto Contador, dinner with the Sciandris, a new Specialized cyclo-cross bike and much, much more. Of course the biggest news of all is that my brother Fränk proposed to his long-term girlfriend, but we'll get to that in due course.

We'll begin with my first holiday of the year, in Miami. As you know I love the US, it’s one of my favourite destinations and last year I celebrated New Year's with Fränk and Karsten Kroon in New York City. This time Fränk, two friends and I decided we'd check out somewhere new and having always wanted to go to Miami it was an easy choice to make. We spent five days in the sun-drenched hotspot and enjoyed some well-deserved R&R. We took a trip out to the Everglades one day and saw alligators, but the highlight was the nightlife.

I'm not a typical party boy; I enjoy a nice restaurant and a bar with close friends so each night we'd pick a restaurant and try something new. One night we pitched up at Max Sciandri's dad's place. He owns a fantastic restaurant and with Max being in town we had to check it out. Over dinner Max leaned over and whispered, "Andy, have you ever been to a fashion show?" "No Max, never," I replied somewhat cautiously. You can guess where we ended up, can't you? To be honest it was a bit weird seeing all the models come out in strange clothes but then again it had its benefits too.

Next stop was Curaçao, my off-season resting spot for the last four years. This year my whole family came out so it was even more special than usual and I still enjoy it just as much as my first visit. Along with the criterium there's always something to do there. Leo, the organiser, always puts on a good show for the riders and their families and friends at the Lions Dive and Beach Resort. So I got up to the typical shenanigans - swimming with dolphins, although I've done it so many times I think they recognise me now. There was one German guy who was scared of the dolphins and refused to get in the water with them but a quick pet talk from Fränk and I, during which we informed him that dolphins are loveable creatures, and he was soon splashing around like a kid in the water.

But for me the best moment, by far, was on the night of the barbecue. We were all on the beach and the organisers laid on a fantastic fireworks display from a boat out at sea. I was standing next to Fränk and he turned to me and said, "Is now a good time? Shall I ask her?" A couple of minutes later and in view of everyone Fränk got down on one knee and asked Martine to marry him. We all waited with bated breath, our hearts in our mouths but when she broke the silence, tears in her eyes, and said yes it was incredible. Fränk is not just my brother, he’s my best friend and Martine, we'll, she’s a great girl and I know that they'll both be very happy together.

The rest of the vacation flew by as I fluttered my time away in between lunching with Alberto Contador to swimming with Brice Feillu and Thor, having a few beers and doing a bit of exercise.

Is it strange that so many riders from different teams spend their vacation together? I don't think so. Alberto Contador is a normal boy and like me he enjoys the solitude you can find after a long hard season. It’s the same with Thor. One thing I can tell you is that cycling is far from our minds and we hardly talk about it. The common perception is that we're robots: trained from birth to ride our bikes, programmed and conditioned to suffer, travel and race and follow team orders. But the truth is we're like any cross-section of society. Some of us are good, some bad, some funny and some serious. We're not robots and having time away from racing and the media is really important.

But now I'm back home, my batteries are recharged and I'm really excited about starting my training for 2010. I'm never one to put too much pressure on myself but I know that next year is going to be the most important year of my career so far. I've got time on my side but last year I went to the Tour de France as a contender for the top ten but next year I'll be going there as one of the favourites. I think there will be five of us in contention - Contador, Armstrong, Wiggins, Frank and myself. There are maybe five other guys who could do well but these five will probably decide the race and the podium.

I'll be talking to Bjarne Riis, my team boss, on the 29th and in that meeting we'll decide on my race programme. Right now it looks like I'll be kicking things off with the Tour of Majorca, in Spain. I'll probably stay there for a few days after the race in order to train but once again my first big goal will be the Classics and defending my title in Liège. From there I might do the Tour of California as I really like the race and it could suit me. The next big goal is of course the Tour. Can I peak in twice in a season? Yes, and I think my can peak even higher for the Tour. Of course the Tour is the most important race of the year but having Liège in your palmares is a pretty cool thing as well.

Testing times

Now I must love you and leave you as I need to fill out my Whereabouts form. I've talked about this before but I still have reservations about some of the aspects involved. I know that it’s necessary and important but sometimes it can be a pain and I worry about missing a test. I'm not trying to fire holes in the sport, I'm just being honest. For example, I have a colleague who was thrown a surprise party one night. He had a few drinks and decided to stay at friends rather than drive home. The next morning the tester arrived and he had a missed test.

I'm all for testing, I have nothing to hide so if people want to follow me around the clock that’s fine but I think the system could be more flexible. It seems we're paying for the mistakes of riders before me. I know it’s part and parcel of being an athlete and I applaud all efforts for a clean sport, so this is more of an observation than a rant. But what if I want to go on a cruise one year? I have no idea how that would work with the Whereabouts system. Perhaps the testers will come with me or chopper in Apocalypse Now-style. I don't know. Cycling is my passion and my job but it’s not my life. Like I said, we're not robots.

11.23.2009

Happy Birthday to Dad Schleck...


...belated. Andy twited lastnight:
"My Dad have Birthday today 57 yeas an still fit like a young Teenager;)
"
Glad to hear that, we also celebrate the best dad in the universe.

VDB's last interview

Frank Vandenbroucke: The final interview By:Daniel Friebe
http://www.cyclingnews.com/features/frank-vandenbroucke-the-final-interview


Three weeks after Frank Vandenbroucke spoke to Daniel Friebe about his newly rebuilt life, the ex-pro was dead. Procycling recounts that last interview and remembers the Belgian cycling superstar.

With an eerie sense of déjà vu, I asked, "Frank, is there any chance we could have a chat later?" That’s because once, in 2001, I’d put exactly the same question to Frank Vandenbroucke and got a response that made my nerves quake and soul shiver.

Earlier on that day all those years ago, I’d foolhardily accepted an invitation to join Frank Vandenbroucke (VDB) and Lampre on a training ride, only for VDB to mysteriously elope halfway through the session. Hours later, I found him sulking in the restaurant of the Lampre team hotel. Just weeks into what was already his fourth pro deal, the team’s bosses looked as alarmed as their enfant terrible looked miserable.

In Mendrisio, it was different. "Chat?" he said, "Why not? Find me in the press room later." The World Championship road race was due to begin in a few minutes and although VDB wasn’t competing, he seemed to be in his element, waving to the crowds that lined the road as he wore a satin blazer which was clearly his Sunday best. His eyes were bright, his skin tanned and glossy. He seemed to exude good health and happiness. For a self-confessed recovering cocaine addict, not to mention someone who tried to kill himself in June 2007, it appeared that he’d already overcome a great challenge – the one to get his life back.

Like many people, I’d fallen under VDB’s spell in the mid- and late 90s, aka "the EPO years". To me as a teenager, he was a headstrong prodigy who happened to ride for my favourite team, Mapei. Watching the videos now, I can appreciate that he was so much more than the sum of the 26 victories he amassed before his 25th birthday, including a stage in the Tour of the Med when he was barely 19. Doped or not, on the bike, Vandenbroucke represented a rare marriage of grace and power. Katarina Witt, Johan Cruyff and Roger Federer all achieved not just sporting brilliance but also beauty.

For a few years at the end of the last century, VDB seemed destined for the same superior cru.

We ended up having our most recent conversation on the Sunday afternoon, midway through the men’s road race. At lunchtime, in the marquee tent next to the press room, I’d noticed him eating and talking cheerfully with journalists from Italy, France and Luxembourg. Earlier in the week, he’d stridden into the press room, seen two reporters from the Walloonian newspaper La Dernière Heure and exclaimed, "Now we’re colleagues!" Soon, it was "If you need to know anything, just ask," and, "If you’re thirsty, just let me know." Three weeks later, the same writers would pen his obituary.

We sat outside, Vandenbroucke straddling a plastic chair, me crouched on the curb. The interview lasted no more than 15 minutes, because he had a race to watch and a column to write for the Flemish daily Het Nieuwsblad. The last I’d heard of him was that he’d recently walked out on Cinelli-Down Under, his 12th team in 15 seasons. He claimed they’d never even gone to the trouble of offering him a contract, let alone paying him a wage. "After Tom Boonen, I’m still the second biggest name in Belgian cycling," he’d apparently harrumphed.

He hadn’t found a gig in September, but there was still a sprinkling of braggadocio. "For the last 18 months, I’ve been a new man, another Vandenbroucke," he gushed, implying that his struggles with drugs and depression were now a thing of the past.

With hindsight, his lapse into the third-person may have suggested that all was not as well as he claimed. In a brilliant 2007 documentary about his performance in the 1999 Vuelta, Vandenbroucke reflected, "I was like an extraterrestrial. Maybe that was the drama. It was all too easy. That caused me a lot of problems later..." Despite his protestations to the contrary, there were signs in Mendrisio that the extraterrestrial hadn’t yet completed his landing on planet Earth.

For those 15 minutes, though, VDB held me in a trance, just as he had years earlier. When I’d finished my questions, I thanked him and said, in all sincerity, that it was good to see him looking so well. He smiled and replied that he’d enjoyed the interview. What he really liked, I think, was any recognition of the efforts that were so much greater than anything he’d ever had to muster on a bike – his fight to live a completely normal life.

Hopeful, although still slightly sceptical, I swapped e-mails with one of the Het Nieuwsblad journalists who had worked with VDB in Switzerland, Hugo Coorevits. “Life is normal for him again," Hugo wrote. "At 10 o’clock at night he was in his bed and at 7:30, before me, he was at breakfast."

Little did I know it at the time, but, on leaving Mendrisio, a French journalist had sought similar reassurances from Frank Vandenbroucke’s uncle, Jean-Luc, who later recalled the exchange. "The journalist said to me ‘He looks fit and happy.’ I told him, ‘Don’t you believe it. We never know what surprises Frank has in store...’"

Alas, there will be no more surprises. VDB is no more…

Frank Vandenbroucke’s final Procycling interview

Procycling: First of all, Frank, we’ve seen you in the press room all week, so tell us what you’re doing here at the 2009 World Championships.

Vandenbroucke: I’m here as a journalist for Het Nieuwsblad to give my vision of the race and of cycling in general. I did the same job at the Tour de France. I tell them what I see and I really enjoy it. I love it. I put a lot of energy into it, and I think we’re doing a great job.

Procycling: Your problems over the past few years haven’t been a secret. Give us an update on how you’re doing, or at least sum up the last year or so.

VDB: Going slightly further back than that, I divorced two years ago, having had lots of problems in the relationship. I’d suffered a lot on the inside, in my heart. But since last winter, I’ve been a new man. I’ve recovered 100 per cent...

Procycling: How have you recovered, Frank?

VDB: Quite simply, there’s no therapy. Things are going better.

Procycling: No therapy?

VDB: No. Over the past few years, I’ve just come to realise that I’m a lot more serene when I’m on my own. I’ve never gone looking for a cure, but the way I’ve found it is very well perceived in Belgium. For years, no one looked upon me as they look upon me now.

Procycling: So you think that a lot of your problems were linked to your relationships?

VDB: I suffered enormously in that respect and the outlets for my tension were unacceptable.

[Pause] I simply realise that the last year and a half have been fantastic for me.

Procycling: So if you meet the third woman of your dreams tomorrow, you’ll tell her you’re not interested?

VDB: [laughing]. Noooo, because I was already happy with the first one... No, I just see that, over the past 18 months, I’m alive again. I can breath again. I’m another Vandenbroucke.

Procycling: Frank, what you’re telling us is a magnificent story, because there are thousands, maybe millions of people in the world who suffer from problems like the ones you’ve overcome and think there is no hope. Yet here you are telling us that it’s possible, that you can recover from addiction and depression...

VDB: Absolutely. I think my life experience has taught me that you can recover. I’m a bit like a cat really – I’ve had more than a few lives, yet here I am, happier and more serene in my heart than at any other time of my life. I’m rediscovering myself and, as I do, I’m discovering a fantastic person.

Procycling: What’s your relationship with cycling now? Is it hard for you to be here and not be racing?

VDB: Yes, it’s hard. This year I was in decent condition without any great preparation. It’s tended to be other riders who have come up to me and say that I still have the same pedal stroke as in my best years. So I haven’t written off my life as a cyclist yet. I’m still passionate. That’s what keeps me going. Cycling is still my life.

Procycling: I’m sure that you’ll acknowledge that you’ve made mistakes. What’s your biggest regret in life?

VDB: People often ask me that question. I have lots of regrets but I don’t let them become obsessions. All the team changes, the decisions I’ve made that in the long-term didn’t prove to be wise... I could talk about them all day, but the path that’s got me here is what it is.

Procycling: Do you believe in destiny? And, if so, do you think that it was your destiny to find happiness now at 34 years of age?

VDB: [Smiling] Nooooo, I don’t believe in destiny.

Procycling: Talk a little bit about your current life in Belgium. Do you live near your parents and friends?

VDB: Nothing’s ever very far away in Belgium. My parents live 45 minutes away and I have my group of friends nearby. My oldest friend, my old racing buddy, Nico Mattan lives 35 minutes away. We see each other whenever we feel like it. My house is in Zottegem, by the finish-line of the first stage of La Panne. I also have a house just South of Milan, close to Lodi, where I spend less time, but I go there to train in winter or to see my daughter, who lives in Florence now with her mum. It’s a good set-up. I like being able to live in two different countries.

Procycling: And is your life still like a typical pro bike rider? VDB: No, not this year. I’m also the marketing director of the Walloon branch of a metal manufacturer, which takes up a lot of time. I decided to do that because the days are long, and you have to fill them somehow. I also did my column for Het Nieuwsblad during the Tour, and of course I still train, so I do three jobs. It’s a bit too busy if anything, but it also opens up lots of different horizons.

Procycling: You’ve had serious problems with hard drugs in the past, and been quite open about that struggle in public. What’s your relationship with drugs now?

VDB: I was a drug addict. It’s not a secret, I wrote it in my autobiography. And as a former addict, you can never be completely cured. You always have to stay well away from whatever it was that you were addicted to. I’m completely clean now, but you can never think you’re totally in the clear, even when you’re 65. I’ve had a lot of help from a lot of people. I have a psychologist, Jef Brouwers, who has been close to me every step of the way. I still sometimes speak to him three times a week. I owe him a huge amount, because it would have been easy for him to say quite early on that it wasn’t working, that I was hopeless, but he persevered. I owe him a huge amount.

Procycling: How long have you been clean?

VDB: A year and a half. And I’m very careful when it comes to going out and parties. I don’t like the kind of life I used to lead. It almost disgusts me. I’m always on my guard. I don’t go over the top. Then again, I’m also a young man who’s 34 years old and likes to be sociable.

I have a lot of energy, a big appetite for life.

11.18.2009

Next one must be Fleche Wallone!!

But as I wrote in another post, stripping a medal is not enought, because without doping that race would have been different. Rebellin was the only one able to react to Andy's attack, if not perhaps he would have gone away alone or reached the line with Sanchez... As Bartali used to say: "L'è tutto sbagliato! l'è tutto da rifare!" [= "All is wrong! all ought to be done again!"]

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/davide-rebellin-to-lose-olympic-medal

Davide Rebellin to lose Olympic medal

Italian's silver medal to be stripped after positive doping test

Italian Davide Rebellin will been stripped of his Olympic silver medal after the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) received a request to do so from the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The IOC stated that Rebellin has been disqualified for doping. The CONI announced it would comply with the request, and has scheduled a meeting for tomorrow with its attorneys.

Rebellin took second place in the road race in Beijing last summer to Spaniard Samuel Sanchez. Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland was third, and Alexander Kolobnev of Russia was fourth.

Rebellin was one of five athletes to test positive for the blood boosting drug CERA in re-testing of the Olympic doping controls done by the IOC earlier this year. The test for CERA was not in use at the time of the Olympic Games in 2008.

The results of the retroactive testing were released in April, 2009. Rebellin was immediately suspended by his Diquigiovanni team, although he rode for Gerolsteiner at the time of the Olympic Games.

He requested a counter-analysis of the sample, the results of which were to be announced in December. However, the CONI announced Tuesday, "The IOC Disciplinary Commission has disqualified Italian athlete Davide Rebellin from the men's road cycling race at the Olympic Games in Beijing 2008, where he finished second."

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/mcquaid-kolobnev-to-get-beijing-bronze-medal

McQuaid: Kolobnev to get Beijing bronze medal

Rebellin expulsion elevates Cancellara to silver, Russian to podium

International Cycling Union (UCI) President Pat McQuaid has confirmed that Russian rider Alexandr Kolobnev will move up into the bronze medal position for last year's Beijing Olympic Games in China, following the announcement that Italy's Davide Rebellin is to be stripped of his Olympic silver medal.

“I got an email on my phone an hour ago from the [International Olympic Committee] IOC confirming the [Rebellin] news,” he told Cyclingnews. “It is up to the Italian authorities now to deal with it. Today’s news is not a huge surprise – we were expecting this.

“The medals will be rearranged now, with Kolobnev getting bronze,” added McQuaid.

One day specialist Rebellin was the best-placed Italian rider in the 2008 event, going close to succeeding his Italian team-mate Paolo Bettini as Olympic champion. He was edged out by the Spaniard Samuel Sanchez in a six-man gallop to the line.

Rebellin went on to place fourth in the UCI World Road Championship road race, and played a role in helping his team-mate Alessandro Ballan to take the title. He then moved from the Gerolsteiner team to the Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli squad, and had a strong early season.

His top performances included wins on two stages of the Vuelta a Andalucia, a Classics victory in Flèche Wallonne and third in Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

In April it was announced that several Beijing entrants from various sports had tested positive for CERA; Rebellin was subsequently confirmed as one of those. The 38-year-old is facing a ban of between two and four years, and so his career is likely over.

“That is it, it is another chapter is behind us,” said McQuaid. “I just hope we are moving forward and we are not going to have this again at such an important event as the Olympic Games.”

The last time an Olympic cyclist was stripped of a medal was after the 2004 Games, when Colombian Maria Luisa Calle Williams tested positive for heptaminol and lost her bronze medal to American Erin Mirabella in the women's points race. However Calle was able to prove her positive came because she took a migraine medicine that metabolized into the banned substance, and had her medal returned in 2005.

11.17.2009

Whereabouts sucks

[Pic by Dorte Adelfred]
http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/sorensen-episode-exposes-whereabouts-difficulties

Sørensen episode exposes whereabouts difficulties

Saxo Bank Team says warning has nothing to do with doping

Chris Anker Sørensen's warning for missing a doping control “just shows how difficult the system is,” according to Saxo Bank Sport Director Kim Andersen.

Right after the Tour de France, Sørensen rode a race in Kjellerup. Family and friends surprised him with a party after the race, and after having a few beers, the rider decided to spend the night there, rather than at his parents' house, as planned. However, he had given his parents' address in his “whereabouts” filing, and Anti Doping Danmark showed up the following morning. Since Sørensen was not where he said he would be, he was given a warning.

Andersen said the team was not worried about it. “It was just unfortunate,” he told spn.dk. "It just shows how difficult the system is. You have to really be careful with it. I think that Chris tells it to show that it can be almost hopeless.

"Such a warning has nothing whatsoever to do with drug use, and Chris is very attentive about is whereabouts," he added.

The team accepts and respects the whereabouts rules, but find them difficult for the cyclists. "It is very confusing. You have no privacy as a cyclist. I think it is good that Chris stands up with the story to show how difficult it can be. It is almost impossible not to get a warning one time or another,“ according to Andersen.

Liveri Pinton on the podium!!


Aquila Ganzaroli Team ended season 2009 with another great result: in last Sunday MTB GP Rufina 2 racers got on the podium. Riccardo Vivoli was 1 after a solo breaking away and Liveri Pinton [my son :)] 3. The 2 place was achieved after a duel with Liveri by a racer from Empolese who declared: "Congrats! it has been hard passing you!!".
Liveri Pinton came late to the start, didn't have the time for to try the journey but made a wonderful race, keeping the second place behind Riccardo almost till the finish. After the race he said: "It has been amusing!!" and that is the most important thing.

11.16.2009

Velomania 2009


http://www.editions.lu/
I want it!!
More info on My blog by Fede

11.15.2009

Fabian!!

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/fabian-cancellara-to-attempt-hour-record

Fabian Cancellara to attempt hour record

By:Gregor Brown

Time trial world champion to break 50 kilometres?

Switzerland's Fabian Cancellara is likely to be the first of cycling's modern stars to attempt the hour record.

"I have the hour record on my mind," he told Bicisport magazine in its November issue. "I am certain that sooner or later I will make it happen."

Cancellara won his third time trial World Championship in Mendrisio, Switzerland, September 24 in such a dominating manner that he had time to raise his arms crossing the line. He set an average speed of 51.58km/h and finished 1'27" ahead of Swede Gustav Larsson.

"I think I showed that I am suited for this type of effor

t in Mendrisio," he continued. "But it is not enough to go strong. You need to know how to give that same effort on the track. I will find time to do it."

Czech Ondrej Sosenka set the curr

ent hour record of 49.7 kilometres in Moscow, July 19, 2005. Before Sosenka, Brit Chris Boardman (49.441km) in 2000 and Belgian Eddy Merckx (49.431km) in 1972 made successful re

cord attempts.

The hour record is established by riding the furthest distance on a velodrome in the time of 60 minutes. The International Cycling Union (UCI) standardised equipment limits in 2000. It banned aero helmets, wheels an

d frames.

A project exists to convince Cancellara to attempt the record in Montichiari (Brescia), Italy, according to Tuttosport. The 250-metre, wood surface velodrome opened in May.

The last world record set in

Italy was in 1967 at the Rome Olympic Velodrome by Belgian Ferdi Bracke. He b

eat the distance set by Frenchman Roger Rivière eight years earlier, 48.093 kilometres.

11.13.2009

More pics from Curacao...ehm!


http://www.corvospro.com/arimages.aspx

Ehm ehm!! now... people good in manipulating pics can make what they prefer with pic 2... but how hard reality is... Sig, sob, snif! Anyway I think that they will see a spectacular increasing of booking next year at
www.lionsdive.com
BDW pic 2 denys that story about Andy prefering blond girls so... here I am :)

11.12.2009

Is a baby Schleck on the way?

I must thank an anonimous reader for that link and his translation:
"http://www.nieuwsblad.be/sportwereld/article/detail.aspx?articleid=LD2HM6MS What does it say? The article quotes Frank: "....Andy is also in love with Curacao and also my older brother Steve and my mother came along. During the fireworkshow last Tuesday I proposed to my pregnant (!) girlfriend Martine."..... "
If it's true it's a very good and moving news for Schleck fungirls and of course we must celebrate! Anyway I'm sure that Frank and Martine will be perfect parents and Andy... a wonderful uncle :)

11.11.2009

Curacao fishing pics


I want your glasses!! belove them!!
(belove you too)
Thanks ela-lang for that link - we already noticed it last year but not the new updating.

http://biggamefishingcuracao.punt.nl/index.php?a=2009-11

The small pic is from cyclingnews.


11.10.2009

“Friends and rivals” complete article from Telegraph

Translation from Dutch by Marleen: thanks!

They were such the two rulers in this year’s Tour de France. They have the competition fear for only a two person battle for the yellow jersey in the upcoming years. At Curacao, Alberto Contador (26) and Andy Schleck (24)saw each other again after a very successful season. Contador won for the second time the Tour de France, while the youngest Schleck-brother won Liege-Bastogne-Liege and became second in the Tour de France.

For a few seconds Alberto Contador looks straight in the eyes of the younger Schleck. The Spaniard replied affirmatively to the question whether the Luxembourger is his main rival for the coming years. “I’ve been watching Andy closely. His attitude and his way of riding is recognizable for me. I saw myself in him, the Alberto from two years ago. Andy misses some experience at this moment and his time trial needs to improve. Just like I was searching my way through time trialing in 2007. precisely this observation makes me nervous.”

In cycling the rivalry between the main contenders for the Tour de France is always a bit exaggerated. There is a controversy created to make the battle more heroic. On the pearl white beaches of Curacao, the rivalry on the bike makes place for friendship. Contador smiles when we point this out. “You journalist would like to see it different. But Andy is a great guy, I can get along quiet well with him. It doesn’t matter we are rivals on the bike. That has to be possible. We are even planning to go hunting together some day.

Andy Schleck: “In terms of character we look a lot like each other. No mather what happens, we are both down to earth guys and we will stay like that. Of course I want to beat him in the competition. When Alberto wins because he is better than me, I’m happy for him. After his win in the mountain stage to Verbier, I hugged him. On those moments you have to show your respect to each other.”

The gap between Contador and Schleck on the Champs Elysees was 4’11, while the gap with Lance Armstrong was 5’24. Andy: “It was Alberto, me and then the rest. I managed to stay with him in the mountains. I tried to attack his yellow, but he was too strong for me.”

Alberto: “I’ve been able to make the difference in the time trials. Andy has the advantage that he is 2,5 years younger than me. Already he is very good but still he can improve his talent.”

Andy: “There is a chance to beat Alberto! I can be at the same level as he is in two or three years. The most important finding at this moment is that I lose too much time in the time trials. I have to work on that. Alberto is a example on that point. He is such a professional.”

For now there aren’t any weak points in Alberto Contador. Contador seems physically unbreakable. The only weak spot for 2010 can be his team. At this moment it is still unclear for which team Contador will ride next year. Alberto: “Everything is possible, but I hope I know something more very soon.” Contador acknowledges that a strong team is necessary. Especially when he looks at Andy Schlecks team. He is surrounded by very strong riders.

Andy: “Still, I don’t think the team will be the decisive thing. The strongest rider will win. There is no team time trial and even the mountain stages seem to be controllable. I think it will be a man-to-man battle.”

Alberto: “Andy will have an advantage in the next Tour de France. The Mountain stages are more important and there are less time trial kilometers. If I want to beat Andy next year I will have to be stronger than ever.

A synthesis of Thelegraph interview

We are translating from Dutch the complete interview but we are a bit late so... you can read a synthesis here:
http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/contador-and-schleck-play-tour-favourite-tag

Pic from Curacao by Bettini, smiling Andy at your left :)
BDW we have a new enigmatic twit by Andy about his mysterious 'best friend': "Siting in Curacaou at the Caribbean ocean having a nice dinner with my best friend that was awsome week thankswww.lionsdive.comThx a lot"
Ps
About Andy's mistakes on Twitter my opinion is that his fingers are too big for the keybord of the iphone: that's a problem for many men - and some women. Small mobile are cool bunt unpratical for writing. Ok, I'm very small so my texts are always perfectly correct... and if they are not it's because of my ignorance.

Bellis, Horillo and O'Grady: two good news and a bad one

[Pic of Horillo by Sirotti: the best pic of him I ever saw.]
Little press review from cycling news: I'm happy to read that Jonny Bellis is recovering well
http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/bellis-back-in-london-and-recovering-well
and that Horrillo is back in training http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/horrillo-back-in-training. They had both some awful crashes in the last season, Horrillo racing in the Giro and Bellis out of competition just before the Worlds Championship. Good luck to them and also to Stuart O'Grady: one of my favourite sexy bankers and just-dad-again.
http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/ogrady-admitted-to-spanish-hospital

O'Grady admitted to Spanish hospital

By:Richard Tyler

Saxo Bank's Stuart O'Grady has been admitted to hospital in Spain after he collapsed during a corporate event at the MotoGP circuit in Valencia on Sunday.

Australian news website Adelaidenow.com.au reports that the 36-year-old passed out after taking a hot-lap around the race circuit on a motorcycle piloted by Australian MotoGP rider Casey Stoner prior to the Valencia Grand Prix.

According to Cycling South Australia executive manager Max Stevens O'Grady bit his tongue and collapsed while being introduced to other MotoGP riders on the race grid by Stoner.

"Casey Stoner started to interview Stuart and introducing him to these people," said Stevens. "Stuart couldn't answer the questions and then he collapsed. They called the medical team and luckily he had the doctors on standby for the race."

Stevens said that O'Grady had been admitted to hospital by doctors and was currently undergoing tests to determine the cause of the incident.

"We'll know more in the next couple of days," continued Stevens. "Ann-Marie, his wife, is at home in Monaco and we're getting all this information through third parties."

The winner of two Tour de France stages (1998, 2004) and Paris-Roubaix (2007), O'Grady has had to deal with health related issues during his 14 year career. In 2002, he underwent successful surgery to remove a blockage in his iliac artery which had caused a power imbalance in his legs.

O'Grady had passed a compulsory medical by MotoGP doctors prior to the lap with Stoner.

11.08.2009

Amstel Curacao done lots of fun

Pics from here: http://www.amstelcuracaorace.com/?lang=en

Top 3 Amstel Curaçao Race 2009

1. Alberto Contador
2. Thor Hushovd
3. Koos Moerenhout

...no news about our heroes yet but I presume they enjoyed the ride... judging from this pic...

11.07.2009

Curacao: by our special reporter...


...Jakob Fugslang. I must thank him very much because Andy writes nothing about his wonderful holyday and we are so curious...
But Curasao means also Amstel Race: next post will be about Andy's win. Will not it? We'll see: good luck to Andy, Frank and Jakob!

More pics from Curacao


by TdW

11.06.2009

Pics from Curacao and more about Frank&Martine



*OMG* what else can I say?
About Frank&Martine... well it's not surprising that newspapers start talking about marriage.

[Thanks to Claude for the scannering :)]



11.04.2009

Frank asked Martine to marry him!! best wishes!!


Don't ask me to translate that but the news is that Frank asked Martine to marry him. I'm happy, she deserves that.
[Thanks Marit for the link and have a look to My blog for a translation.]
Huwelijksaanzoek Schleck op Curaçao Van onze speciale verslaggevers
WILLEMSTAD - Frank Schleck heeft zijn vriendin Martine gisterenavond op Curaçao ten huwelijk gevraagd. Tijdens een groots vuurwerk dat het Lions Dive & Beach Resort de renners aanbood, kwam de oudste Schleck-broer spontaan op dit idee.
Aan de rand van het zwembad onder het kleurrijke hemel deed hij het aanzoek. Martine antwoordde direct ja. Later werd er met champagne een klein feestje gevierd waarbij ook Tour-winnaar Alberto Contador het glas hief op het aanstaande Luxemburgse echtpaar.

Frankie boy 2 on My blog


Yes yes, nothing can stop fungirls: Fede was looking for the original interview on the "Luxemburger Wort", so I asked to my friend Claude and he was so gentle to scanner and send it to me. I sent it to Fede and she - who is def better then me when German is concerned - translated it in oreder to allow to everybody to read thge complete Frankie boy's interview. So... thank you Fede and Claude. And you people... enjoy!

http://fede-myblog92.blogspot.com/2009/11/interview-with-frank-part-2.html?showComment=1257339506067#c3865300417328184160

11.03.2009

No limits...


...to Schleck-mania!
http://twitter.com/asportcycling

Room with a view

[Pic from http://twitter.com/Jakob_fuglsang]
On Jakob Fuglsang's Twitter fungirls can read:
"just woke up...sleept on the balcony together with @andy_schleck..."

11.02.2009

Frankie boy








Here you have a partial translation of an article about Frank, but Cyclinhnews came later: our friend and fungirl Fede already translated [more of] it on My Blog and we are waiting for the scannering of the newspaper to translate also the remaining part. Press is dead. Fungirls are in front!

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/frank-schleck-aiming-high-for-2010

Fränk Schleck aiming high for 2010

By: Susan Westemeyer
Fränk Schleck leads brother Andy, r, at the Tour de France

Schleck brothers divide up the Ardennes Classics, both aim for Tour podium

Fränk Schleck would very much like to have a 2010 season equally successful as 2009. “It was a wonderful year, in which I brought in a number of good wins,” the Saxo Bank rider said.

In fact, he told the Luxembourg's Wort newspaper, he and younger brother Andy “have already agreed for 2010: He will win the Amstel Gold Race, then I will take Liège-Bastogne-Liège.”

“My goal is absolutely clear: To stand together with my brother on the podium in Paris, that would be the greatest," he continued. "And why should that be an impossibility?”

They came close to that goal this year, with Andy finishing second overall and Fränk fifth.

A crash in the Amstel Gold ended Fränk Schleck's hopes in the Ardennes Classics. Andy went on to win Liege-Bastogne-Liege, with Fränk finishing back in 23rd.

“Andy's win was something very special," said Fränk Schleck. "Looking back, I am sorry though that once it was clear Andy would win, that I didn't do everything I could to finish second. That would have been possible, but the emotions were just too over-powering.”

After the successful Tour de France, Fränk Schleck finished his season after 10 stages of the Vuelta a España, and had to miss the World Championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland. He had been having knee problems since March, and admitted to a few difficult days in the Tour.

Schleck had surgery on his left kneecap to resolve the problems.

“Now I can recover quietly and come back strong again. I would very much like to repeat my performance of the 2009 season again in the coming year. It was a good year.”