Schlecks meet fashion: polls result

Ok, maybe you think that a pink t-shirt is a bit odd... but no!! I belove it!! Probably because I hope to see Andy in pick around here one day.
His style is a topic of discussion here and lately I proposed you a final poll: jeans or suit. Partecipation and results are amazing!!
I mean: 118 votes in 1 week is a record and the most of them in the first 2 days.
Now, the result: 50/50. I am simply astonished. I wanted t put also "Andy anyway" as a possible answer but realized almost everybody would have voted for it... Because yes, we like Andy ANYWAY. I at least do.
He was cute and looked younger then anybody else in TdF 2009 presentation. Of course that story suited his 'character' of rascal, wild - but also simple - boy. He was cute and so elegant in suit this year, in Paris and earlier at Big Bro's marriage.
I think that growing up he fits better in formal clothes. But still unformal, sporty wearing suits him better in my opinion.

Frank's wedding was also a parade of beautiful, nice, funny and questionable dresses. I made a mistake puting Martine (57%) in the poll, because of course she was splendid: she was the bride!! Not every brides have the same class, I must admit, but in your special day you try your best, don't you?
I fell in love with Sabine's dress so am happy with her result (second with 10%): maybe dark isn't the right color for a marriage, but it matches with her hair, and the cut was simply amazing.
Andrea Adam (the girl with Jakob, not his date) got a 8%: she made a safe choice as you said. Her dress was nice and she is very cute, so... a good mix.
Somebody else got a large 3%! Now I'd like to know who was in your mind, really: tell us in the comments area.
Finally Fabian's wife... ehm ehm... I liked her 'dress', really. If not I didn't put her in the poll. But you were stricter. She got only 1&... and lots of negative comments instead. I was positively impressed - as usual - by the unity of the Cancellara family: they were so 'in key'!
From pink - Andy - to pink - Fabian's wife. When Schlecks meet fashion... Allez Andy! readers get nuts! Cool :D
........Miami now and then Curacao......Stay tuned!!
Pic of Cancun press conference here:


CCC: Mancebo

More pics expected...
By www.wrsimagenes.com

Waiting for Cancun Criterium

http://www.cancuncc.com/en/ride-course.html Looks nice :) Have fun and keep tweeting guy. You could also open your mail box now and then...

... Looking for Andy's pic in Cancun - nothing found - I was surprised to see that one: a completely new pic to me! Old but cute... I wonder what you were reading there...

But the race is about to start.


Cancun Zoo

Andy tweeted:
"Somewhere in a zoo in Cancun @ @ are lostg"
Zoo site
Interesting article

Roman & co. are on the beach castels building instead... http://twitpic.com/31za88
... after some Rock & Oss scaring performances... http://twitpic.com/31p22a
Don't tell me about after dinner activities, thx :P

Gerdeman, Wegman and Fuglsang: Press release by Leopard True Racing

Three more all-rounders join the team from Luxembourg
The Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project is pleased to announce that is has signed three of the most accomplished young racers on the circuit. The exceptional German professionals Linus Gerdemann and Fabian Wegmann along with Danish sensation Jakob Fuglsang have been added to the impressive list of names who will join together to help make the new team one of the top line-ups in the world.

At 28 years old, Linus Gerdemann is just entering the velvet years of his career where he will be at the peak of his abilities. “I have already worked with Linus earlier in his career and I always wanted to work with him again, so I am pleased tohave the chance to get him on this team,” Team Manager Kim Andersen said. Forhis part Gerdemann did not have to hesitate long before deciding on where to movefor his 2011 season. “I know a lot of the people who will be riding and working for the team, so it was not that hard of a decision to make,” Gerdemann revealed.
“Frankly, I am very excited to be racing with so many familiar faces once again.” Gerdemann has already made his mark as a potential stage race winner. Though he has a couple of quiet seasons behind him, the team sees big opportunities opening up for the solid all-rounder. “We have big expectations for Linus,” Andersen revealed. “It has been good for him to have had a chance to grow as a person and as a rider in the last years and I think he has some amazing seasons ahead of him.”
Gerdemann is unequivocal about what he expects from himself in his time on theLuxembourg team: “I want to win stage races and win the Tour de France with the team.”

Fabian Wegmann is another exciting signing for the team since he has had a lot ofsuccess as a result of his winning attitude and indefatigable ability. “Fabian is arider I have always wanted on my team,” Andersen explained. “I have always likedhim; he is a winner - pure and simple. Though he is not a pure climber or a puresprinter, you can always count on him for several wins a year.” With his positiveattitude and his team-oriented focus, Wegmann will undoubtedly be a great assetto the team from day one. “I searched out this team because I want to be amember of what I believe will be the most exciting team in cycling for the comingseason,” Wegmann said. “I want to give my best to the team and be in top form for the Wallonian Classics, the Tour, Worlds and races like the Tour of Lombardy.”
Wegmann’s ambitions to be at his best for such a diverse list of races will fit well with what the management hopes to see from him. “He will mix nicely into thegroup and we surely can count on him to bring home some Classics and semi-Classics, or even the odd Grand Tour stage,” Andersen declared.

A definite feather in the cap of the new team from Luxembourg is the addition of Jakob Fuglsang to its ranks. “Obviously we have big expectations for Jakob. Forme, he is one of the biggest talents in the sport,” Andersen said. Fuglsang hasfound a good deal of success the past several years by proving himself to be an ableclimber and time triallist, so he is expected to form one of the cornerstones of thenew team. “I wanted to join this team because I knew it would be a good fit for me and my personal goals,” Fuglsang revealed. “It is also exciting to start something new and help build it up along with my friends.” Fuglsang recognizes the importantrole that Kim Andersen has played thus far in his development and looks forward tocontinuing their association. “Jakob had a fantastic first year racing at the ProTourlevel in 2009, and this year he gave the Schlecks good support in the Tour,”Andersen explained. “He is a very complete rider and we now know how to tweakhis off-season preparation so that he can arrive in the best possible shape for thecoming season.” Though Fuglsang will perform the important role of being a top lieutenant to the Schleck brothers in their bid to win the Tour de France, he also hasa notion of what he would like to achieve for himself in the coming years. “I will aim for higher personal goals like going for the general classification at the Giro orVuelta, while taking great care to help Andy and Frank at the Tour. They are such great athletes, why shouldn’t we try to win it?”



...did you go yesterday? Early in the morning, before tourists arrive, it's a magic place. Just on the beach, just on the sea...

Hahaha! I remember I was really hungry in Tulum! We went on foot at dawn walking by the sea from our cabanas in Punta Piedra, eating almost nothing before, and it was still so early for lazy tourists that food and drinks sellers were all closed.

There was a wild wind and bathing was kinda dangerous because of strong currents and small sharp rocks under water.

It was full of iguanas: small, medium and big. Nice cute bizzarre animals, the looked at you arrogantly.

Our trip was at the end, we already visited a lot of ruins - Tikal, Chichenitza and many other less famous in Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras - so we wandered in Tulum without historical curiosity, simply enjoying the mood and the landscape.

Well... probably we were also tyred after 25 days backpacking and few eating... But that day in Tulum we seat down in a poor restaurant and had a perfect lunch: pollo azado and cerveza Corona!

We remained there chilling in the sun, chattering, joking and finally, dirty and dusty as we were - we all - nine - entered a taxi and came back to our posada managing to pay a fair price. Not easy in Mexico for European travelers, I always thought that was a kind of tax on imperialist exploitation, but in Tulum we looked so down-at-heel that the taxidriver gave up.

All that didn't prevet us to have fun in Playa del Carmen and spend a - relatively - lot of money in Cuzmel: one of the coolest but more expensive places I have ever been.

That was me. Roman Kreuziger and Manuel Quinziato went to Tulum yesterday. And you? had a look around? went fishing again? or slept all day on the beach?

Waiting for more recent, pic 3 is some yars ago in Curacao.


Vélo d'or: Cancellara, Andy Schleck, Voeckler

Pic by R.Miny

Cancellara claims Vélo d'Or

By:Cycling News
Swiss rider rewarded for exceptional season

Reigning Olympic and world time trial champion Fabian Cancellara has received cycling's highest honour, the Vélo d'Or, after a season that saw him win both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix plus a record fourth world title in Geelong, Australia.

Awarded to the world's best rider according to French magazine Vélo, the Vélo d'Or has been won for the past three years by Alberto Contador and was won a record of five times by American Lance Armstrong between 1999 and 2004.

The 29-year-old is the second Swiss rider to win the prestigious trophy, with Tony Rominger claiming it in 1994. It's the equivalent of football's Balon d'Or, awarded to the world's best in that sport each year and in 2010 Cancellara earned the title by taking the aforementioned northern Classics, plus two stages at this year's Tour de France where he helped teammate Andy Schleck to second overall.

In Australia he rode to a dominant time trial victory to secure his fourth world crown, a record for any rider, and securing the undisputed title of world's best rider against the clock.

Voeckler wins Vélo d'or français, Andy Schleck wins Vélo d'or espoirs

Thomas Voeckler (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) won the Vélo d'Or français, reserved for French riders, ahead of Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) and track sprinter Grégory Baugé, who won the prize in 2009. Voeckler win the French national title, a stage at the Tour de France and the GP de Quebec one-day race in Canada. He described the 2010 season as his best ever.

Andy Schleck won the Vélo d'or Espoirs award for the best under 25 rider. Vuelta Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo) was second and Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) was third.

Vélo d'or Vélo:

1. Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) 63 points
2. Alberto Contador (Astana) 42 points
3. Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) 34 points

Vélo d'or français:

1. Thomas Voeckler (BBox) 109 points
2. Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) 90 points
3. Grégory Baugé (Créteil) 56 points

Vélo d'or espoirs:

1. Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) 55 points
2. Vicenzo Nibali (Liquigas) 44 points
3. Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) 40 points

Previous Velo d'Or winners:

1992: Miguel Indurain
1993: Miguel Indurain
1994: Tony Rominger
1995: Laurent Jalabert
1996: Johan Museeuw
1997: Jan Ullrich
1998: Marco Pantani
1999: Lance Armstrong
2000: Lance Armstrong
2001: Lance Armstrong
2002: Mario Cipollini
2003: Lance Armstrong
2004: Lance Armstrong
2005: Tom Boonen
2006: Paolo Bettini
2007: Alberto Contador
2008: Alberto Contador
2009: Alberto Contador


Cancun cycling challenge

That is a site!! bravo!!

The race is on the 30th but some racers are already in Cancun. What about Andy, Frank and Jakob? waiting for a tweet... good holydays guys :D

Chihuahua Criterium pic spam...and the wild light of Mexico

Pic 1 is by Josu Garai post by MARCA: thx M.
The other - GREAT - pics are by Martin Benavides Lee.
Look the light in these pictures: the wild sunshine of Mexico! I remember it very well. And I was there almost in this period, few weeks before.

As I said I didn't visit Chihuahua and probably the climate is dryer there. In the South it was awfully wet, specially at the border with Guatemala, that we crossed on foot, rich of pluvial forests and vulcanic lakes.

But this violent light that forces to close your eyes and burns the camera images is the same in Teotihuacan, the vast holy town close to Mexico City dominated by Sun and Moon enormous 'pyramids', or better astronomic/astrological observatories.
To build them, the cruel white paved streets and all the rest around, as impressive as inexplicable, that people cut so many trees that the micro-climate was affected, the rain stoped and the land turn desert.

When you go there by public transport as I did, you wake up early in the dark and wait for an old slow bus in a large dirty road of Mexico City, then pass the elegant districts, the middle class areas, the popular modern buildings, the poor houses and finally the big, endless desperate stretch of shacks. And there the wild sunshine looks cruel.

You pass all that, you arrive to the holy city already tyred and with a nasty taste on your mouth, with your eyes half closed, because of the sun and because of the tears. Already sceptic. Immediately surounded by hungry dogs and children.

And finally you pass a gate. There is a lot of people around, but suddenly you feel alone, lost in that open space too big for human beings, blind because of this light too white and hot for human eyes.

If you climb the holy obsevatory - and I guess you do - forced to walk obliqually by the too small steps and forced so to respect the holy top you are aiming to, the light and the heat almost kill you.

On the top there is nothing, like in the holy places in general, an holy hole to put you sense in. In fact you can find there hippies, monks, adepts of all spiritual movements and religions...in silence.

That is one of the few places in the world where people shut up! what a miracle eh? probably you are too tyred and thirsty to speack. You look around amazed, hoping for a bit of wind in vain. The white huge valley blows an hot breath up to you.

Did people live here? you can't belive that. But coming down you can't avoid to feel deflatered. Inadequate. Or simply physically exhausted?

Our guide was an Indio guy, son of a Curandera who could make us try the peyote: not a drug, a spiritual trip explained. Fascinating...

But my mates said no. That didn't prevent them - not me - to buy and smoke marjuana like hell some weeks later in Guatemala, just before to cross the wild Honduras boreder...
But the light was complitely different there.


Chihuahua Criterium pics and winner

Vino won and here you have some pics. Poor site, I'm sorry. Maybe we'll have something better next days :)
1 Vinokurov
2 Andy Schleck
3 Sanchez



I remember when I was backpaking in Mexico that name on some old colored buses... but we didn't go there :)

Giro 2010 map

Giro d'Italia presentation and Chihuaahua criterium

Tomorrow Andy is supposed to race Chihuaahua criterium:

He already said instead he isn't going to race Giro d'Italia, so today presentation wasn't very interesting for me.

Zoncolan, Etna, big mountain in Austria, Sestrierre. Some sprinters stages. Long transferts again. Start in Torino and finish in Milano with two TT. Special guest... Vincenzo Nibali.
Pic is random.... but Schlecks are always nice!


Happy Birthday Allez Andy!

Actually it was October the 18, but I was busy with Lombardia post that day.
Allez Andy! is 2 yo now and improved a lot: the best gift was Andy's interview of course.
Increasing partecipation by blogmates is also a very good sign and I'm happy to have here sometimes very high level comments - mixed to very humorous ones, deeply appreciated. Statistics numbers are important: you are a lot reading that blog and from almost everywhere - even Luxembourg!
Next year Andy (and Frank) will ride for the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Team, "the coolest team in procyclinh" as Nygaard said. I'm working to be at the official presentation in January and on a longer/more/less serious interview with Andy. I'm going to follow for you live Ardennes Classics and TdF, plus Italian races of course. I'd like to be also in Luxembourg for the National Championship and maybe next year I'll do.
Andy is enjoying his holyday now, but it's never off-season at Allez Andy! So... stay tuned!


TdF presentation pic spam

Pic 1 by Sonja Csury (So Andy has more then 4 expressions!! 1. Normal/serious 2. Big smile 3. Rascal smile 4. Angry/annoyed.... 5. "Mhmmm!" ) All lovely, I'm joking ;)
Pic 2 by FP: Andy and Frank pointing where I can give them a little kiss. The difference is clear, isn't it? :D
Oh guys! don't get angry! where is your sense of humor?
More pics here:


TdF and new team Interview with Nygaard by Cyclingnews

Nygaard tips Andy Schleck as 2011 Tour favourite

By:Daniel Benson
Luxembourg team to reveal rider names this week

Bryan Nygaard has tipped Andy Schleck as the number one favourite for next year’s Tour de France.

The team manager of the new Luxembourg-based team was in Paris on Monday for the unveiling of the 2011 race route and liked the mountainous profile and limited amount of time trial kilometres. Schleck finished a close second to Alberto Contador this year and won the white jersey as best young rider.

“For me the favourite is Andy,” he told Cyclingnews.

“I would be bullshitting if I said this wasn’t the perfect parcours for him. It’s still nine months to go and a lot can happen in that time, but if you look at the parcours he as an athlete couldn’t ask for more. We have to be satisfied. We won’t downplay his role as a favourite.”

Nygaard’s team are still waiting for the UCI to approve their ProTour licence for next year but he is confident that the team is on the right track. They have already announced that they will be riding Trek bikes and that Mercedes will be providing team cars. Several of the Schlecks’ former Saxo Bank teammates and staff are expected to join the team, creating one of the strongest teams in the peloton.

“We’ve filed what we need to file. I have to say there are some tough criteria in order to get the license but I really support that. You can’t show up with a half finished dossier. It’s a serious matter,” Nygaard said.

As for rider rosters and sponsors, he added: “We’ll announce riders this week and in the coming weeks. Everything will come in the next couple of months, including the team’s identity, and we’ll have a big presentation in Luxembourg in January.”

Recent reports have indicate that the team will be funded by a pool of sponsors, rather than one leading company, and may compete under the name of Pro Team Luxembourg.

Looking to the route for next year, Nygaard was confident that the team he has assembled will be strong enough to back both Andy Schleck and his brother Frank.

“In the recruiting process we’ve looked specifically at that parcours and we wanted to bring people who were fit for the task,” he said in regard to the team time trial.

“If you have the privilege of having two riders of that calibre of Andy and Frank, tactically you’ll have the upper hand but then again you’ll always see new riders coming through.”

“It’s a race for the climbers but I think it’s a fantastic and I think it’s going to be a great race for people who love cycling.”

Pic AP

As I said.... Interview by Cyclingnews

Andy Schleck says 2011 Tour de France suits him

By: Jean-François Quéne

Luxembourger hopes Contador will start

Andy Schleck hopes to challenge the best riders at next year’s Tour de France and that includes Alberto Contador. The Luxemburger reckons the course suits him as it’s made for climbers.

“I like this course,” the youngest of the Schlecks said soon after the launch of the 2011 Tour de France in Paris. “The four uphill finishes suit me. Well, this year’s Tour did suit me as well. I can’t say the next one has been made for me, but it’s a Tour for climbers, so it’s good for me.

“The cobblestones made the 2010 Tour de France special but that will be replaced by the wind in Vendée and Brittany. We have to remember that some riders have lost the Tour at the team time trial. I’m not afraid of the traps of the first week though. When I go to the Tour de France, it’s for winning.”

Schleck is already looking forward to the third and final week of the race. “The Galibier summit finish will be the queen stage and the whole last week will be very difficult”, he noted.

Schleck didn’t want to consider the possibility of becoming the winner of the 2010 Tour de France as a result of the outcome of the Contador affair. “This Tour is finished and I was second on the podium in Paris and that’s it,” he said. “It’s important for cycling to have a quick answer on that matter and it’s important for him as well but not for me.

I hope that Alberto will be at the start next year. I want to compete against the best riders in the world. However, the Tour de France isn’t only about Alberto and myself. There are about fifteen riders who can win it.”

Schleck also told Cyclingnews that he has yet to decide on his build-up to next year’s race but hinted that it should be along familiar lines.

“I haven’t finalized my pre-Tour race program yet, I have some ideas but probably I won’t do the Giro,” he said. “I know what works for me.”

TdF 2011 suits you def!!

Pic by AFP

TdF 2011presentation and holydays

Today in Paris one of the coolest happenings in cycling calendar is expected: next TdF intinerary - hopes, legends and nightmares - is going to be revealed. The most of cycling stars are already there, someone is arriving and one or two are not.
Contador - and also Petacchi - prissyly announced his forfait: "His presence would certainly focus the attention of the assembled media and this may even harm the Tour presentation itself." explained Contador's press officer Jacinto Vidarte to L'Equipe. But Andy and Frank Schleck will be there, with Cadel Evans, Vincenzo Nibali, Ivan Basso etc etc.
Waiting for pics and vids - for live streaming check here http://www.cyclingfans.com/node/1396 - two questions monopolize fangirls' mind: 1. does 2011 itinerary suit Andy? 2. what is he wearing that time? About questions 2 - so relevant given that last year media talcked for days about casual/too much casual Andy's clothes - I hope he keeps his sporty style. About question 1: no prologue is good, Team Time Trial is not. Waiting of course for mountain stages.
Holydays are coming finally. Curacao and Cancun. I have been in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum.. Very beautiful places to enjoy a beach rest and night clubing. But I left my heart in Punta Piedra, a small small village on the coast, few Kms from Tulum, not far from Playa del Carmen, where we spent a week after 20 days backpacking in Central America. Few poor cabanas on a desert beach, a wonderful sea, silence, dark night full of stars, walks at dawn to the Maya ruins. Andy should have a look there, I'm sure he would like.


Giro di Lombardia by your special reporter

When Andy tweeted on Saturday night, I was finally sleeping in a small village near Como after a long day in the rain and an amusing too long dinner with the fanclub people. "Season finish well not on the way i like to finish!" Andy wrote "I was sick and crash today.well s... happens.last race with Saxobank ,kind of strange" and "i like to thanks the whole team for the good 6 years i had there."

Saxo Bank was partying in Milano according to Jakob: "In Milan now...go out tonight a celebrate the seasn ending a little! Hard nasty and wet race today...but must say the im happy with my 4th!" and "podium was close and would have been super.. had a good season & think i finished of in a good way! Thanks 2 Saxo B & Bjarne 4 2 good years!". According to the funclub instead Andy went straight home with his family after the race.
He was sick, yes. I could see that at the start in Milano: his face was pale and he had a fever blister on his lip. Because of that he was also more covered then other riders. It was a gray cold day and rain was expected in the afternoon.

Andy waited in the bus till the last minute before to go to sign but had the time for a short interview by Alessandra Distefano, Denis Bastien and... me.

Well, yeah. We stoped him when he already was on his bike and A.Distefano - probably the best Italian tv cycling journalist - asked him "something for today". He said - in French - "I was sick" and she looked surprised - you would be better to read Allez Andy! baby - I am not a journalist or maybe I care too much about Andy, because got a little angry seeing them asking and asking about that sickness without any respect. He answered in short: "I was sick, I still feel no good so I don't think to be competitive today" but they wanted to know more dettails and he resigned told: "They found nothing. It seems an infection" and asked again said a complicated name I don't remember. "Is that like mononucleosis?" implied A.Distefano and Andy admitted: "Yes, it's that". I am not sure it actually is. He looked relieved to have found a word to close the matter. But mononucleosis is a serious stuff.

I wished him good luck and he went
to sign. I took some pictures and was glad to meet some friends.
Workers were already taking of barriers and podiu
m and we remarked how sad it is: a cycling start is like an instant party, assembled 10 minutes before the buses arrive and disassembled when they are still leaving.

And people who follow cycling professionally - teams staffs, journalists, tv technicians, race organizers, podium girls etc etc - run by car, bus and track from the start to the finsh while the cyclists ride their race on the main road forcing them to alternative ways.
But the most emblematic image is that: two podium girls waiting with a warm jaket on their sexy dre
sses and high heels shoes in their hands. The show lasts so few... and the race is in the middle.

In Como the
weather was already shitty and a gloomy bleau-gray mist was covering the lake. Bottles with flayers against Torri by cyclists association were distributed by freezing girls. It was lunch time so we went to a restaurant and remainded there till 3pm hoping for a spot of sun at the arrival.

How wrong we were... I reached the big screan in time to hear that Andy was slid on the wet discent after 60 kms and retired. A friend from the fanclub told me they have been watching in the mountain and were now going to the SB bus so I ran there under the pouring rain and was happy to see an all smiling Andy wavingto his people by the driver window. It was over finally and he was fine all in all: starting such an hard race in such a cold raining day when you are sick and still taking antibiotics isn't a piece of cake. He risked to crash bad. Fortunately he didn't and I kept reapting all day: "I'm happy he's already in the bus." His mum said he was going to go directly to Luxembourg, and I hope so.

We went directly to a café instead, sat down out there, under a tent supposed to repair us from the rain and just behind the big screan, so we could listen but not see. The race was thrilling! With Andy safe in the bus in could enjoy Bauke Mollema's attack and then Jakob's brave forcing to bring the peloton back to Gilbert and Scarponi. Vincenzo Nibali was very unlucky, crashing when he was with the right guys in a technical descent perfect for him.

Rain was for everybody the main opponent that day. Gilbert was stronger then the rain and flew to the fish solo.
We were at the barrier completely wet when he stoped surrounded by journalists, photographers and team staffs. Somebody huged him and his face was white, confused, joyful. He did it again! what a racer he is!

was second and looke
d relaxed: his long experience probably helped him to keep cool. 3th was Lastras and 4th a freezing Fuglsang who arrived shaking: he fought furiously and really honoured his last race for Team Saxo Bank. Richie Porte crashed - and also CA if I am not wrong - and was very disappointed because Lombardia was a target for him too.

Three leaders for one race? could you ask. That's weird, I agree. But Richie Porte will be one leader next year probably in races lik
e that. Andy and Jakob will be in another team, that had in these days his first meeting, and just in Italy. I'd have liked to put my nose in but no way: the secret saga go on. We'll know everything in two weeks.

Pics by me


Exclusive interview with Andy Schleck by Allez Andy!

First of all I have to say that isn't an interview but just a short talk: I had only 15 minutes and couldn't ask the three questions everybody have in their notes (Vuelta, Contador, new team). I didn't record anything but simply wrote down something there and the most on my way back by train, in spite I have got a very good memory that isn't a word by word trascription. Words then can't say everything. I'll try to give you an idea of the mood and way of our talk but that's really hard, in English specially because it isn't my native tongue.

When I got in the team bus Andy was siting in the central couch with his laptop on his knees. He looked serious, ill and very shy. During our talk he flicked through his pictures, just to keep his hands busy. He was a bit nervous I think - well me too, you can imagine - but not annoyed nor bored. If I have to choose a word to describe the mood, I'd say 'intense'. Maybe you'll find my questions banal, but he answered from his heart and I thank him for that.

We where all alone there, only Danny checking the clock, and there was a deep silence. Andy spoke first:

Andy: How are you?

Me: I'm fine... but you... not so fine!

Andy: I feel sick.

Me: But if you are sick I don't want to disturb you.

Andy: You don't disturb me. Where do you live? Florence?

Me: Florence.

Andy: How many kms from here?

Me: Mhm... I don't know... But Bologna is fine for me. Lomabrdia is farer... Listen, I know that sometimes I'm stressing with you...

Andy: No, not stressing.

Me: Ok. - I took a page from my notebook -I wrote some words here, tell me what they means for you.

Andy: Ok.... Oh, 'pain'! - he exclaimed looking at the last one I wrote.

Me: Ehehe, yes. Cycling is also pain, isn't it? - We both smiled - Oh! I like your shoes!

Andy: That ones? - They were lying on the floor just in front of me, the Luxembourgish red, white and bleau on their back. I had taken a picture of them at the start.

Me: Yes :) - My idea was to make him write something under each keyword but he gave me back the pen:

Andy: I tell and you write.

Me: So, 'Nature'.

Andy: Yes, I like to be in the nature...

Me: ...fishing... Did you like that picture of you with the big fish? - That was refered to the cover I made him sign at the start.

Andy: Yes :) That was last summer...and I like my dog - he smiled.

Me: Jacks

Andy: Yes

Me: ...and Stewie

Andy: That's my bro's

Me: I prefer Stewie, I like...

Andy: ...big dogs... - He smiled again. A characteristic of our talk was that we often said the same words or one ended the statement of the other. That was really nice but hard to convey.

Me: Yes. 'Music'.

Andy: Ah well... I listen to music always, at home, on the bus, training, during the races if I can... I like...

Me: Yes, I know which music you like... but...

Andy: What does mean for me?

Me: Yes... Does it help to focusing...

Andy: Yes...

These first questions were just to have a start but it was funny because I had the feeling that we both knew that 'interview' was 'impossible'. Derrida, one of my favourite philosophers, says: "You need to find words able to convey the silence" and that was exactly my need there. A silence that wasn't indifference but too much to say.

Me: It's difficult to me make you an interview... - I said and, as every time I meet him, I asked -Do you know my blog, don't you?

He had a large smile:

Andy: Yes.

I was impressed by the few words he used. That wasn't his first interview nor the most important and he wasn't evasive or careless, simply essential and as I said intense. Each words was 'heavy'.

Me: I think I read everything about you... I already know the answers... So, 'Family'.

Andy: Oh, for me family is the most important thing in life. - He said that and he did mean it.

Me: And now there is also Leea. - We both smiled - She's so cute!

Andy: Yes!

Me:..and calm! At Frank's wedding she looked so calm, never cried...

Andy: After she was tyred. - You could feel the usual care talcking about his little niece.

Me: Ah sure... And here we are: 'Pain'.

He looked at me with his blue eyes a little watery, so serious and said:

Andy: Pain is temporary...

Me:...glory is forever. - A hackneyed phrase, but again he did mean it. And it wasn't easy to go on, belive me. - Ok. But often it seems that you feel no pain. The others have such a face... but not you. Maybe sometimes when you attack...

Still staring in that way, still so frank he anwered:

Andy: I can assure you that I feel pain. But ok that's a part of the game.

Now we were about serious stuff and both deeper involved, like people that were looking for each others and finally meet.

Me: 'Talent'. You have a lot of talent...

He didn't hesitate, as if he felt like to say that since a long time:

Andy: But talent is nothing without training. If you have talent but don't train you will never achieve big results.

Me: Talent means also big expectations, it put on you a lot of pressure. But you says that isn't a problem.

Andy: Yes, I like pressure.

Now I wanted and could ask my one question, the one I had so long in my mind. I was choosing words to make it gentle. I'm not judging, I simply care. But I think he knows and answered in fact.

Me: 'Freedom'. They say you are a 'free sprit'...

Andy: Yes... I'm a free spririt... but...I think that's good. - He saw what I was driving at.

Me: Sure! And that's why we like you! But... in top sport you have to keep together your love for freedom with rules, discipline...

Andy: Yes - he said with shifty eyes - and I think I demonstrated I can do that. I'm able to focus when I have to.You are not second in a TdF if not...

I kept quiet for a while, thinking a little upset about what happened in the last months and also to what Jakob said me at the start: - Andy? No, after the Vuleta "non ha la testa" (= he can't concentrate)". I felt sick me too.

Me: Andy, once you said you enjoy cycling and that if you stop enjoying you stop cycling. Do you still enjoy cycling?

I will never forget his face and his voice when he answered:

Andy: I love it. - He said that and he did mean it. I don't know if you understand all here, but think we both did and I still shake everytimes I remind.

Then I asked something personal, we talcked also about holydays:

Me: You go to Curacao now... - I said.

Andy: Cancun before.

And we plan to meet next December when I'm going to go to Luxembourg. That would be the right moment for a true interview, about serious cycling stuff and also about fangirls curiosities. We'll work on it.

- Ilaria, three minutes left -Danny said.
- You have to leave before the others arrive - Andy added kindly. The longest 15 minutes in my life! I put my notebook in my bag and realized I stand up all the time even if at the begining I sat in front of him.

Me: Ok, I finished. Can I have a picture with you?

Andy looked surprised:

Andy: Oh... but I have these clothes... - actually a normal gray sweatshirt and jeans. - Ok, Danny take us a picture.

I move to sit near him and had a look to his laptop:

Me: Hey! But you have a picture of yourself on your desktop! - I joked - Me too ehhh!

Andy: Yes... - he smiled - But I change it often.

Me: Me too... but always of you!

Danny took us that pic and I have it on my desktop now. We have both a funny face and a deeply shy invisible smile. But I keep it for myself.

It was time to go, I forgot my bag on the seat and Danny had to tell me twice because I was a little nuts. We said bye, me and Andy, while the radio crackled the race was almost at the sprint.

Me: But we meet again next Saturday - I said leaving - ...in Lombardia. Ciao!

Andy: Ciao.

That was. Am I a journalist? I am not. I simply hope that Andy agrees: I asked him if he wanted to read the interview before I post it, but no. So... I did my best.

Pic by me


GP Beghelli by your special reporter

On Sunday morning the breackfast room was full of racers and team staff.
There were only some free seats at a table half occupied by Vancansoleil guys, my friends were waiting by the door but I was hungry and nothing can stop an hungry Ilaria - bdw I eat few, but need to eat: have a very low blood pressure.
So I went straight to them and said: "We are 4 and would like to sit together, can you move please?", they were a bit surprised but that wasn't so complicated and they did.
It was cool eating there,
amongh pile of cycling kits on the chairs and big dishes of pasta.
At 10 am we where
at the start, by Beghelli factory. In time to see Team Saxo Bank bus arriving. It was colder then on Saturday and Danny parked it in the shadow... BRRR!!
Waiting for Andy, I noticed
Hoogerland coming to have a talck with Jakob (see my pic here): he explained why he couldn't help the breack away in Emilia and asked for 'peace', because probably Jakob wasn't so happy at the finish.
One by one SB riders got off, took their bikes and went to sign.
he mood was definitely better that morning, they were more relaxed also because Beghelli is a less important race and there wasn't Bologna.
I can say I ran behind Andy all the day, but it was worth to. While I was taking pictures at the start I also said ciao to Andé Steensen and talcked a little - in Italian - with Jakob Fuglsang:
"How are you?" I asked "You did quite good yesterday",
"Yes, I feel good.
I want to win one of these races.",
"Not Lombardia eh!! Andy must win it.",
Andy? no, I don't think so. Non ha la testa (= can't concentrate) now... after the Vuelta..." and I think we understood each others. He had like a grimace.
"Well... that's also normal... ".

I stoped Andy just out the signature box, puting my hand on his handlebars: "Ciao! wait wait! a picture with my friend!"
He was soon surrounded by supporters asking signatures and pic
tures and there was a woman near me keeping asking in a very bad English, so I told her: "You can speack Italian, he understands it very well" and Andy looked at me with a funny smile: if I well 'read' it, he wasn't so happy that everybody know that... Ops! I'm sorry!
He went to the bus and then to the start line - and
me too.
On his way he had to stop again, because the factory yeard was completely full of people and bikes. He was joking and laughing with a Liquigas guy, so
I seized the opportunity to make him sign something special. He looked at it, burst into laughter and signing showed it to his mate: it was the first page of a magazine, "Musel zeidung", featuring Andy holding a big big fish in his arms and the title: "Beim Fischen ist er einsame Klasse".
I took a lot of good pictures while the peloton was waiting for the start and it was nice to see Andy chattering, smiling, joking as usual with Richie Porte and Jakob Fuglsang.
It was also
funny watching the increasing chaos of cars, buses, bikes and people in the area and listening to the poor speacker geting mad: "The fat lady out of there please!! what the f... that trolley?! Hey you! wait wait with that bus! YOU CAN'T CROSS THE STREET NOW!!!!"
We crossed it anyway and went
to the arrival, in Monteveggio. That's a small village, so we went to the toilet - we are girls! - to the team buses chatering with mechanics and drivers - thx dudes by Quick Step and Feudi di San Marzano to let me leave my backsack down! - and finally to eat for free at the 'hospitality village'. That's life!
I must admit I didn't follow the race, moreover because
Andy retired early.
I heared his name by the speacker and was: On no! he will fly to the bus and by bye! - But a friend said: "What are you waiting?! run!! he has to come back yet!!"
RIGHT. I ran. Did you ever run by the barriers and in front of the tribune at a cycling race? I can assure you it's hard.
Andy came back, passed me and I called him keeping runing: "Andy!". But I guess he was in a hurry, because quickly left his bike out the bus and got in.

I waited a while, also talcking with Danny and other teams staffs. As usual Danny had gone for a ride and was still wearing an old - but good - CSC cycling kit. "I take a shower now" he said.
When he came back he told me:
"Andy has pain at his stomach, is having a rest on the seats now but he knows you are here. If you want I can ask for the interview...". I was sad to hear he was sick - but that explained something - and said: "Ok, if I don't disturb...".
Dudes, I worked hard to get that interview and... I waited for him since TdF or better from Liège...
Danny disapeared again into the bus, then came back and said: "If you can make the interview in 15 minutes, get in. But only 15 minutes." OK!
When I get out - happy, sad and a bit upset - I had two important things to do immediately: 1 taking my backsack from Quick Step mechanic van to give it to my friend Luca who had to bring me to the rail station later AND 2 finding my f
riends at the finish line to say bye and enjoy the sprint. I did.
The finish was moving and great because
Dario Cataldo got his first victory as a pro, after a splendid season. Jakob was second and I had the time to see André Steensen rewarded for the intermediate sprint victory.
Then Luca called me: "Oh! we leave!" so I ran to the buses again. To be honest Luc
a was a little too optimist, because moving a team bus after a race isn't easy nor quick.
But finally I could get my train(s) back to Florence.

I'll post my interview tomorrow (I hope). But... well... I really have to thank Andy,because he didn't feel good that day. I hope he will get well soon and am sure he will enjoy his holydays.
C U next Saturday in Lombardia!

Pics by me