TdF poll result

Is Andy ready for TdF?
Hell yeah!!
  44 (67%)
Doesn't look so
  13 (20%)
  3 (4%)
  5 (7%)
Given that's (was?) a Andy fan site... ehm... 31% not sure or sure he isn't... isn't a great result. But we will know pretty soon. "A whole year of work for just three weeks" he said in the teams presentation. Exactly.

A place named Les Herbiers

There are many ways to write about cycling and many reasons too. Recently I read some good books: each one is  different even if the subject is the same and often they tell about the same race or racer.
The first book - and my favourite one - is "Campionissimi" by Maurizio Crosetti: it tells the story of some great champions starting from a special day in their life. Using a photographic language, it's a series of  macro pictures and emotional portraits of men who were also cyclists. Crosetti's style is very original: drama and humor, high and low words, public and private - but never gossip - are mixed and the result is like a precious necklace made of many different stones. He made me fall in love for Anquetil and that's something: few champions have been loved less in the history of cycling...
The second book is "L'ombra del cannibale" by Marco Ballestracci. That's a fiction, or many fictions linked together by the story of Eddy Merckx, since his childhood to now, or some years ago. Not a biography. A try to understand... the man again, but not just that special one: men in general - and also women - the people as if reflected in that marble to play with a cyclist inside. It's a complicated book because tells very simple stories, often about children and kids and their desire to dare and to win, their fear to be not accepted. Two pages I remember: the 'poor' Tom Simpson - "How can a pro cyclist be poor?" the child wonders ignoring he's dead - talking wisely as a Virgilio to his young team mate Eddy... about cycling, about life, about the Tour de France that's the true World Champioship because the best one in the peloton isn't the luckier of one day race but who can show his ability, endurace and courage everyday for three weeks in the most important stage race in the world. And the 'young gun' Jean-Pierre Monserré, the anti-Merckx, a new Mercks... killed by a car that didn't respect the stop during a small race just before the Milano San Remo he was going to win. Maybe Merkcx wouldn't have been Merckx - or 'so' Merckx - if Monserré could have been Monserré. Or Mercks would have been Merckx in another way. Do you know what my Anquetil said on the podium of one of Poulidor's few victories? "I'm really glad you won so people will stop telling I always do because you are a too weak opponent". Sweet bastard as my favourite guys.
The third book is "La fiamma rossa " by Gianni Mura. It's a collections of Muras's articles for La Repubblica as a souiveur at the Tour de France. You can see that day by day style, the need to fill the page even if there is few or nothing to say or to put just in the same page all the drama and glory of an epic day. I must admit my favourite reports are about those 'empty days' where Mura is free to describe with brilliant humor and biting  irony this various world of cycling: the absolute champion is at the same level of the the last helper here and both are just a part in a big show. Who uses to follow cycling races recognizes places and faces: the toilet of that small dirty bar in the village where the stage arrives, the plastic beauties waiting for the podium cerimony holding their higheels shoes and siting on a step, jounalists and photographers too, eating sandwiches in the car or tasting regional specialities if there is the time. The time, yeah. Following - and probably also racing - a race it's all about the time: not only the time you did - your result - or the time you have - your daily schedule - but also the stressing time to wait before, the unavoidable wasted time, the crazy time thrilling and exhausting when the race is on. Riders and reporters share this patchy time and Mura is good at featuring it. I'm still reading it to be honest. Sofar my favourite pages are the description of the party au Grand Depart from Vittel (TdF 1968) - flashy and dreamy like only the Tour can be - and again the bloody cruel lines about Anquetil and Poulidor, so different also in their respective memories books that just an evil Chance could have made them live and race in the same time.
This time Tour de France will start from Les Herbiers, a small town not far from Nantes and - for us cycling addicted - Cholet. I would like to ask Andy about his feeling starting from a place he crashed twice and badly. I will ask nothing given that I got the invitation to the LT press conference - also to the SB one - but am still quietly at home. 
Cholet: he swore he would have never gone there again. But Les Herbiers, it's completely another story. I have been in Nantes many years ago: remember a ghotic but light and white cathedral they begane to paint in the ancient times but they stoped because... Maybe they got bored or tired. Maybe they found it was more beautiful like that. And it is beautiful, in my memories at least. I have never been in Cholet but it makes me think of a dog, probably because it sounds a bit like 'chien', and of a warm day, probably because it sounds also a bit like 'chaud'. An hot dog? Andy shouldn't dislike, with some ketchup of course. He dislikes for sure all the time he spent in an hospital after that crash and the ugly scar on his shoulder. I spent instead lots of time looking for infos about it and couldnt find anything, just that short article you can read also here ("Quando Andy si è rotto l'osso del collo").
I have never been in Les Herbiers too, but when I got that invitation I checked on Google map and trains so I came over the official site of the town. It looks nice. It sounds like 'erba', that's 'grass' in Italian - we also have a town named Erba, sadly famous for an awful murder but I hope nobody will be killed: too early in the first week, isn't it? - and it makes me think of those 'mercati delle erbe' you can find in many Italian cities. They were - sometimes still are - the vegetables and flowers markets, usually situated in a rectangular square and surrounded by arcades where often there was the covered market. I belove that kind of places. If I could go to Les Herbiers - night train from Florence, TGV till Nantes, train to Cholet then bus - would have for sure a walk to the market. French cities, towns and villages always have a market. My favourite one is the Sunday market in San Louis, that small small village on the sea in Bretagne where I slept with my family when I was 15 or 16. It was a windy place. And it will be a first windy week in the Tour. I'm happy there isn't a prologue and Andy should be happy too, so he can avoid to make a mess at the begining relieving all the stress of the start. The first stage is a flat windy one, he can stay in the peloton and his team mates are ready to defend him like the life guards of a king in the battle field. It will end in a duel - maybe - but he can take his time. A windy flat stage... Are you thinking the same? are you thinking like me that Weylandt would have liked it? children still play with marbles with cyclists inside, we still reflect our life in the big show of the Tour. Let it start.


LT TdF team: "We go to win it"

Press release:
"Strong Line-Up Heading for Tour de France
LEOPARD TREK has named the riders that will team-up with Andy and Fränk Schleck for the team’s first ever Tour de France. Andy Schleck, Fränk Schleck, Fabian Cancellara, Linus Gerdemann, Maxime Monfort, Jakob Fuglsang, Jens Voigt, Stuart O’Grady and Joost Posthuma will be representing LEOPARD TREK on the roads of France.
Hundreds of fans of the Luxembourg based team had the opportunity to wish the nine bike riders the best of luck, sending them off to France with a big round of applause.
“It is no secret that we go to the Tour to try to win it,” said Team Manager Kim Andersen during the team presentation in the city of Luxembourg. “We have high ambitions for this team. We will target the overall and possibly even win some stages on the way to Paris.” "

TdF team presentation in streaming on RTL

At 6pm, don't forget!!
And if you are there, take some pictures and share with us, thx!

Schleck supporters, WE WANT YOU!!

Another movie about Andy in the next TdF is on the way. Would you like to take part? 
Few days ago I got a message by Jean-Louis Schuller: "I am in the process of making a film about Andy, Frank and the team that I started in December. I will follow the Tour de France and I am currently looking for fans as a group that will go along the road to encourage the riders. [...] I am looking for some true (or let's say extreme) fans that stand out a little bit from the crowd and that are interesting as characters. Would be great if I could find a group that I could follow during certain stages.
Here is a link to the film's page on the production company's website.
Are you interested? contact him :)
And see you there!


TdF - Merckx "Ce Tour sera très disputé"

Cyclismeactu goes on interviewing old glories of cycling and Eddy couldn't be missed. He expects a great fight in next TdF and many contenders, not just Contador and the Schleck brothers: "Pour moi,  il n’y a pas que Contador et les Schleck sur ce Tour de France. Ce serait une erreur de ne pas prendre au sérieux des clients et des coureurs comme Van den Broeck, il est belge en plus, Wiggins, Gesink, Basso, Cunego, Leipheimer et quelques autres encore… . Pour moi, ils sont une petite dizaine à pouvoir rivaliser et contrarier les plans de Contador et des Schleck. Je crois que ce Tour sera très disputé et plus que certains ne le supposent." 

TdF start list and interview with Andy by Le Quotidien

It seems that Andy really talcks only with Denis Bastien, so enjoy that true interview: http://www.lequotidien.lu/les-sports/24851.html
About the nat champ Andy confirms the agreement with Frank: "Oui, je ne vais pas le cacher, ce n'était pas un secret qu'on ne ferait pas le sprint. Je pense quand même qu'à la fin de la journée, Frank était le plus fort. Il a fait l'attaque et a tiré beaucoup. Aujourd'hui, il gagne, dans deux semaines il travaille pour moi (il rit). That's the deal: "in two weeks Frank is going to work for me" ;)

About TdS Andy tells something interesting: "Le Tour de Suisse a été éprouvant cette année, ça roulait vraiment vite tous les jours. J'aurais voulu me tester sur l'étape de Malbun mais comme j'étais malade, j'ai été décroché. J'aurais pu limiter les écarts mais ça ne servait à rien, je ne visais pas le général. Finir à huit minutes ou à quinze minutes c'est la même chose pour moi. Le lendemain à Serfaus où je finis deuxième et où je prends le maillot de meilleur grimpeur, j'ai fait une sacré étape. Sur 220 bornes, j'en ai passé 200 devant. Le Tour de Suisse m'a donné une confiance supplémentaire." So Kim Andersen said he didn't eat properly, now Andy says he was 'sick'... Mah...
About TdF training in the Pyrennes: "Je pense que l'étape de Luz-Ardiden fera une plus grande différence que celle du plateau de Beille. J'ai été surpris, tu fais le Tourmalet, tu descends et tu remontes tout de suite vers Luz-Ardiden. Cette étape fera des différences." That stage will make the difference.

Andy thinks he's ready: "Oui, je le pense. J'étais limite fatigué quand je suis rentré des Pyrénées. Mais il ne faut pas oublier que la récupération fait partie de l'entraînement. Je suis resté tranquille cette semaine. Je suis affûté, je suis sur le poids idéal. Je suis rassuré."
About Contador: "Je pense qu'il est battable."
The team is ready too and Andy says that O'Grady will look after him in the first week: "Pour moi, le plus important c'est Stuart. Il est toujours avec moi. Il regarde derrière moi, devant moi, comme le fait Fabian avec Frank. C'est comme ça que les rôles sont distribués. On s'est rodé au Tour de Suisse, l'équipe est prête. Les mecs me disent : "Ne tinquiète pas Andy, s'il y a des bordures, on sera là." " And LT team for the Tour wasn't in he Giro, so defintely fresher: "Chez nous par exemple, personne n'a fait le Giro. Au niveau de l'équipe, j'ai un avantage sur lui. Je ne le pense pas, j'en suis sûr.
Andy also found the time to go fishing, on Saturday, even if it wasn't good. Few days and they will leave: "Calme dans la tête. Bien dans mon corps. Je suis prêt mentalement et physiquement pour le Tour (...) Moi, je peux rouler si j'ai du plaisir sur le vélo. Et là, je vais au Tour avec cette notion de plaisir." That's wat I asked him in my interview if you rememeber and it's important to know he found back that joy to ride. I'm looking to see it again on his face on the roads of the Tour.

Start list (source http://www.cyclingnews.com/tour-de-france/start-list )

One jersey for two ...and more

I was traveling yesterday, driving to north Italia and back to Florence, during RR Lux National Championship, bringing my son to the Liquigas Camp on Monte Grappa for his 3th time in a row. Last year I was there when Andy won Avoriaz stage in TdF... what a memory! This year Liveri went earlier to the Camp in order to come with me to support him on the Galibier - and to celebrate in Paris. So... I sent and got many many sms to and from Luxembourg. 
I wanted a victory by Andy here. If you watched the race (if not RTL.lu VideoArchiv: Sport) you saw that Andy and Frank passed the line together. But there is just one jersey and Frank will wear it again. Of course they made an agreement before and I hope Andy will wear a better one very soon... a yelow one: "My color. the color I dream...sometimes".
This season was a long - too long - waiting for TdF. I couldn't apreciate any other races meanwhile and feel as if I'm holding my breath since last July. Few days, few hours. Till that... don't disturb and don't ask. I understand.
All National champions here (great job by Cyclismactu):
Amongh the others: Visconti RR and Malori TT in Italy, Robert Wagner in RR Germany, Gilbert in RR Belgium (can I add 'of course'?), Niki Sorensen in RR Denmark (nice!), S. Chavanel in RR France, Wiggins in RR UK, Pim Ligthart in RR Holland (that's a surprise), Rojas RR and LL Sanchez TT in Spain.


Have a look here...


A podium for Andy...

...in cyclingnews tweeters gc. Comment is funny! http://www.cyclingnews.com/features/tweeters-on-tour-who-to-follow-in-july
"3. Andy Schleck (@andy_schleck)
Second to Contador at the Tour twice, can Schleck make it third time lucky? Recent performances at the Tour de Suisse suggest he is either below par or has become a master bluffer. He’s not a prolific tweeter, but when he does it’s usually to say thanks, which probably makes middle-aged housewives swoon. Everything’s ‘nice’ too.
Typical tweet: Thanks to all the nice b day wishes thanks to the @leopardtrek for the nice surprise in the bus"
I hope he will tweet more in TdF, if not... ehm... I wouldn't suggest people to follow him. And no I am not middle-aged - not yet! - and def not an housewife, in fact would like to get direct thx and dettailed explainations about that surprise in the bus: is that 'private'? so why do you break your holy silence to tell in public? No, I liked good old Andy's tweets - we had also a poll here - but lately there is few interesting or funny or... well few in general. 
Ah! Where is the brilliant Andy we used to know? come on guy! let us enjoy a bit again!

TdF - Virenque about Schleck(S)/Contador

I don't agree but.. in an interview by Cyclmactu Virenque also said: "Je pense qu’ils commencent déjà à sérieusement douter un peu. Et il y a de quoi être inquiet du côté des frères Schleck. L’année passée, à la même époque, ils avaient donné plus de garantie, surtout Andy Schleck. Il lui faudra donc un état de fraîcheur sur ce Tour de France. Les Schleck l’auront sûrement mais peut-être qu’ils seront, encore une fois, un peu trop tendre, c’est-à-dire que, par exemple, Andy arrivera trop tard en condition. Toute la finesse d’une préparation et d’un objectif, c’est d’arrivé pile à la bonne heure. Pour moi, les Schleck ont raté le coche. Ils sont un petit peu à la bourre dans leur préparation. Mais ils vont peut-être rectifier le tir et cela se passera bien finalement sur le tour ! Mais, moi à leur place, je serais quelque peu inquiet. Cela va être dur pour eux de battre Contador."


TdF - Hinault: Cela promet une belle et grande bagarre

Interviwed by Cyclismactu Hinault also said: "Rien n’est jamais joué d’avance sur un Tour de France. C’est une course de trois semaines. Sur le Giro, Contador a fait une belle démonstration. Il n’a jamais été inquiété et il a géré sa course et sa victoire finale comme il l’entendait. Donc côté fatigue et récupération, je ne crois pas que ce sera un problème pour l’Espagnol. Par contre, concernant ses rivaux, chez Leopard-Trek, par exemple, ils vont être deux contre lui. Andy et Franck Schleck, s’ils sont en forme, vont pouvoir l’attaquer à tour de rôle. Cela promet une belle et grande bagarre. Et qui sait, un autre coureur peut se servir de cette bataille entre Contador et les frères Schleck pour tirer son épingle du jeu. Donc rien n’est joué dans ce Tour pour la victoire finale."

TdF suits climbers: LT press release

A parcours that suits the climbers
The 2011 Tour de France, designed to celebrate the centenary of the first time the peloton climbed the Col du Galibier, unquestionably favors the pure climbers. The parcours begins in the windy Vendée region, sees the return of the team time trial, includes ten fast stages – some flat, some hilly – and serves up the Pyrenees as an appetizer to the climax in the Alps. The innovative course has been designed to produce both an inspiring and challenging race in the 108th edition of the Tour.

“It is no secret that we hope we can win,” says Team Manager Kim Andersen. “We have high ambitions for this team. We will target the overall and we would like to win stages on the way to Paris.”

Without a prologue, the first stage is open for a large number of riders to take the first yellow jersey. The opening road stage gives way to a team time trial, a flat 23 kilometer course in Les Essarts. With several strong time trialists in its roster, LEOPARD TREK expects to emerge with a strong result.

As the race makes its way across north-western France from Vendée to Brittany and then Normandy, sprinters could start dominating the headlines. After the first full week of racing, the Tour heads south to tackle the medium mountains.

The first summit finish is scheduled for the eighth day of racing. The peloton faces a selective climb that could split the field before the uphill drag to the finish.

The second week of racing includes three days in the Pyrenees with two mountaintop finishes. Stage 12 includes the famous Tourmalet and sees race contenders emerge atop Luz-Ardiden. On Stage 13 the riders climb the Col d’Aubisque. The final day in the Pyrenees covers four mountain passes before the ramp up to the finish at Plateau de Beille.

“Any rider who would plan to go for the overall will need to be ready in the Pyrenees. These stages will not decide the winner, but they will remove certain riders from the possibility of going for the general classification.”

The peloton will take its second rest day before the showdown in the Alps. Stage 16 serves as a warm-up for the rugged mountain stage to come. Riders will enter Italy for the first of three days in the Alps. Three categorized climbs will test the peloton before they face back-to-back mountaintop finishes.

The queen stage of the race, stage 18, tackles the Col d’Angel, the Tour’s highest point, and the Col d’Izoard before the legendary summit finish atop Galibier. The mighty mountain pass will be climbed in the opposite direction the following day as riders head toward the 19th stage finish climb to L’Alpe d’Huez.

The penultimate day of racing features a hilly 41-kilometer individual time trial in Grenoble. Significant gaps could open across the top ten on the stage, as a time trial following nineteen days of racing measures stamina as much as power.

A train transfer will take riders to Creteil where they gather for the traditional Tour-ending trek into the Champs-Élysées. LEOPARD TREK hopes to see their race leader stand on the top step of the podium in the city center of Paris.

The line-up for the Tour de France will be announced at our team presentation in the city of Luxembourg on June 28.

TdF Team presentation for LT

Where and when? have a look here :)

Les beaux espoirs!

Pic by Georges Noesen
Yesterday after a long time I chated again with Pit Schlechter. "I'm studying Economy in the University, so have no time to train" he told me. Ah but he managed anyway to get a nice 3th place in TT National Championship, behinde a guy named Bob Jungels... not the last rider in the peloton, in a TT especially. Bravo! still one of my favourite Luxembourgish racers :)
Pic by Georges Noesen

1.   32   LUX19920922 JUNGELS, Bob UC DIPPACH .29'15"     
2.   31   LUX19900331 THILL, Tom CCI DIFFERDANGE Team Differdange MAGIC-SPORTFOOD.DE .31'28"   2'13"  
3.   35   LUX19901026 SCHLECHTER, Pit LC TETANGE .31'29"   2'14"  
4.   33   LUX19890730 KOHN, Tom LG BELVAUX .32'01"   2'46"  
5.   37   LUX19920612 KIRSCH, Alex UC DIPPACH .32'04"   2'49"  
6.   40   LUX19910210 DIENER, Mike VV TOOLTIME PREIZERDAUL .33'12"   3'57"  
7.   34   LUX19920504 THEIS, Jérôme LG ALZINGEN .33'16"   4'01"  
8.   38   LUX19901030 L'ORTYE, David VELO WOOLTZ .35'39"   6'24"  
9.   36   LUX19910612 BUIJK, Jacky VV TOOLTIME PREIZERDAUL .36'10"   6'55"  

TT Lux Nat Champ full results here:  http://www.romers.nl/engine/component/option,com_classifications/Itemid,17/lang,en/

Yeah, he's ready. But secrets are secrets!


Poosi Nat Champ

Great shot from Lux

Pic by Pascale Kalmes

Poosi did it! YEAH!

Christian Poos new TT Lux National Champion :D .... more coming!!
Poosi passing L.Didier!

Martin uber alles!!!!

Swiss Nat Champ (Men elite) 
1. Martin Kohler
2. Marcel Wyss
3. Mathias Frank
4. Rubens Bertogliati


Giro poll results

Fortunately there is a 27% of you that liked last Giro. You are a minority here but not in the real world: comments I got around are quite positive. People were moved by the the death of Wouter Weyland, amazed by Contador's dominance and excited by Hoogerland's brave and crazy attacks. Rabobank perseverance in defending its pink and white jesery was apreciated in spite of the final result and the hard spelling names of its riders. 
That's true. On the other hand there is a lot of disappointment about Italian racers. Scarponi excluded -but sometimes accused to have made an alliance with Contador - the main contenders for the final victory didn't played as hard as expected. And you too here (29%) agree that nobody really dared Contador. The Big Accused is Vincenzo Nibali, who defends his result saying Contador was too strong, on a different level. That can mean many things. Anyway a 21% of you share this opinion. Exactley the same % thinks the intinerary wasn't balanced: too many mountains in the last week made the fight for pink thrilling and hard - maybe - but prevented many sprinters to end the race and that is kinda unfair. 
71% of you agree with me it was a boring Giro and the most think isn't Contador's fault (or Zomegnan's). Nibali, Scarponi, Kreuziger...gave the impression to fight just for the podium, not for the top step. Second row Italian racers failed to get even a stage victory, like Visconti, nat. chanp. Splendid exception: Diego Ulissi. 
From this Giro I'll keep some memories and some names: Wouter of course, sadly. Rujano: you can't say he didn't dare Contador even if his final GC doesn't show all the brave work he did. Gadret: last Giro surprise, even if we knew him already. Kruijswijk, 9th in the final GC, 2nd in the BYR... yeah yeah I like him! Nieve and Kyrienka, for their amazing stage exploits.
My personal disappointments: Cameron Meyer - where was he? I expected something more! - Emanuele Sella - but Androni had many cards to play, Vicioso and Rujano were in a better shape and/or had a better luck, Roman Kreuziger: I LIKE him! WTF! white can't be his color anymore! Liquigas: compared to the team we saw last year, that one was a pity. Poor Vincenzo, I can't complain: in my opinion he's right to say Contador was too strong. And here I stop.
Just to remember...
Final GC
1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard 84:05:14
2 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISD 0:06:10
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:06:56
4 John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:10:04
5 Joaquím Rodríguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team 0:11:05
6 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Pro Team Astana 0:11:28
7 José Rujano Guillen (Ven) Androni Giocattoli 0:12:12
8 Denis Menchov (Rus) Geox-TMC 0:12:18
9 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:13:51
10 Kanstantsin Sivtsov (Blr) HTC-Highroad 0:14:10
11 Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:16:08
12 Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:18:06
13 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Quickstep Cycling Team 0:18:23
14 David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Movistar Team 0:26:56
15 Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Team Garmin-Cervelo 0:32:08
16 Johann Tschopp (Swi) BMC Racing Team 0:35:20
17 Matteo Carrara (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:37:08
18 Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:37:39
19 Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Pro Team Astana 0:38:21
20 Tiago Machado (Por) Team RadioShack 0:39:59
1 Pinotti
2 Petacchi
3 Vicioso
4 ..............
5 Weening
6 Ventoso
7 De Clerq
8 Gatto
9 Contador
10 Cavendish
11 Gadret
12 Cavendish
13 Rujano
14 Anton
15 Nieve
16 Contador
17 Ulissi
18 Capecchi
19 Tiralongo
20 Kyrienka
21 Millar

Poll results

The most boring Giro I remember

Yep, Contador was too strong
  11 (21%)
Yep, nobody really dared Contador
  15 (29%)
Yep, the itinerary wasn't balanced
  11 (21%)
No! I liked it!
  14 (27%)

TdS/TdF: Nygaard about Andy and more

A first explaination of Andy's bad day in TdS we can read here on  Cyclingnews http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/nygaard-andy-schleck-on-course-to-peak-for-tour-de-france?ns_campaign=news&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=cyclingnews&ns_linkname=0&ns_fee=0
He didn’t eat properly and once he got dropped he lost a lot of time, but then in the rest of the race he was good,” Nygaard said. “He won the climbers’ jersey for a reason, because he was probably the strongest guy on the climbs.”
He isn't worried about the disappointing last  TT: “In the time trial, there’s definitely room for improvement. But I think there is one major time trial in the Tour and there are still many, many weeks ahead."
The article also confirms what you wrote in the comment area: Schleck(s) went to Pyrenees.
About TT Nat Champ "Nygaard said that a final decision on their participation would be made on Wednesday" As I said, they will take part for sure in the RR on Sunday.


TdS pics spam

Pics by Brigitte Tschudi: thx!!

Two leopards! but don't look so dangerous ;)

Luxembourg National Championships

There we go. In few days national champion jerseys will have a new - or old/new - owner. As far as TT chanpion is concerned he will be a new one for sure, given that Andy isn't going to take part in the race. He - and Frank - will be at the start only on Sunday, for the RR. 
I was supposed to be there but decided to not. I canceled  my reservation before I knew about Andy's forfait, but I felt something was 'wrong'. It seems I felt right. 
Andy and Frank will spend some extra days training in the Alpes if my infos are correct - if not correct me and I will be pleased - to be extra ready for the MAIN goal of the season: this epic Tour de France that Andy will be better to winn. But sure! he will. If not I'll kill the winner personally and that story will have an end. Ehm, I'm joking of course. I didn't last year so probably will not.
About Lux nat. champ. there are some extra things to tell. First of all: I know nothing but keep thinking - or feeling - there is something wrong between LEOPARD TREK and Lux Federation. 
Launched as a Lux team - but with a very low profile partecipation of Lux Fed at the team presentation - they ignored Lux Fed. complaint about Frank's nat champ jersey. That complaint sounded a bit weird, especially because it was public and post factum - you are supposed to talk before and directly about such things with a so-nationa- team - but it got nothing: Frank is still wearing that jersey. Now both Schleck skip TT nat. champ. and that also is weird. If you are sick ok - Andy was two years ago - but if you go training with your team... mah... 
Anyway, Schleck not partecipation means somebody else will wear that jersey and one name comes easyly to my mind: Christian Poos. He's in a wonderful shape after a great Tour of Luxembourg, where he won the Green Jersey. He's always been strong in TT and I can't find a serious opponent amongh Lux riders - Schleck excluded. That would be another deserved satisfation for Gabriel Gatti, Team Differdange, and I really hope so.
The RR will be different, but it would be nice to see a true fight also there and some young good racers showing something good. Allez guys and girls! sorry I don't follow femal cycling, but don't forget les dames are there too :)


TdS: Andy winns green... and full results

Yellow: Levi Leipheimer  Green: Andy Schleck Sprints: Lloyd Mondory Points: Peter Sagan
Unfortunately there isn't a white jersey for Steven Krujiswik: BRAVO!! ;)
1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Leopard Trek 0:41:01  
2 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Team RadioShack 0:00:09  
3 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team RadioShack 0:00:13  
4 Nelson Oliveira (Por) Team RadioShack 0:00:25  
5 Tom Danielson (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo 0:00:38  
6 Gustav Larsson (Swe) Saxo Bank Sungard 0:00:41  
7 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard Trek 0:00:44
11 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Leopard Trek 0:01:09  
13 Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Leopard Trek 0:01:24 
19 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:01:38  
20 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Leopard Trek 0:01:40  

29 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:02:06  
46 Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek 0:02:32
60 Frank Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek 0:03:06  
Final GC
1 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team RadioShack 31:45:02  
2 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD 0:00:04  
3 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:01:02  
4 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard Trek 0:01:10  
5 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:02:05  
6 Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing Team 0:02:24  
7 Frank Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek 0:02:35  
8 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:03:11  
9 Tom Danielson (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo 0:03:17  
10 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Leopard Trek 0:04:12  
11 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) HTC-Highroad 0:04:15  
12 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha Team 0:05:23  
13 Jan Bakelants (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:07:04  
14 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team 0:09:28  
15 Francis De Greef (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:09:29  
16 Branislau Samoilau (Bul) Movistar Team 0:10:05  
17 Kevin De Weert (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team 0:13:53  
18 Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:15:07  
19 Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek 0:18:48  
20 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Team Garmin-Cervelo 0:20:14  
 LT press release:
Fabian takes time trial, Andy mountain jersey
Fabian Cancellara took his fourth time trial victory of the season, his second at the Tour de Suisse, on the final day of his home country tour. His teammate Andy Schleck brings the green jersey for the best climber home. 
Metering his effort over the 32.1 kilometer course in Schaffhausen, four Time World Champion Cancellara blasted past Thor Hushvod (Garmin-Cervélo) and eventually reeled in Marcus Burghardt (BMC) as he charged to the finish. Although RadioShack teammates Andreas Klöden and Levi Leipheimer, second and third on the stage respectively, set faster splits at the intermediate time checks than Cancellara, no rider came close to challenging his time of 41:01 at the finish.
“It was a nice race for me,” said Cancellara. “I was a bit nervous on the bus watching Andreas and Levi. When you race early, you don’t have any reference times. I had to trust that I knew what to do and that I would get out everything I had in my legs.”
“It’s hitting the jackpot to win on the first day and the last day of a stage race,” he continued. “It is especially nice for me to make this happen in Switzerland. Looking back on what the team has done and what is coming, it is clear that I’m ready for the Tour.”
The final day of racing led to a general classification shake-up as race leader Damiano Cunego lost what had been considered his insurmountable grip on the yellow jersey to Levi Leipheimer. Jakob Fuglsang jumped up two spots in the overall to finish fourth while Fränk slipped down to seventh. The ever-consistent Maxime Monfort put in a solid time trial to earn the final spot in the top-ten overall.
The mountain classification did not change as the peloton time trialled to the finish line and Andy Schleck brings back the green jersey to Luxembourg. “The jersey was not an objective for us, but we are very happy to have won it, of course.” LOL!
After a hard Tour de Suisse, LEOPARD TREK expects to spend some time recovering before the final build-up to the all-important Tour de France.
Not a world about what happened yesterday with Bauke Mollema? you should better to apologize!  I, personally, as a Schleck supporter, feel ashamed.

TdS 9: TT start order - Andy 4.07 pm

1 82 14:05:00 BOBRIDGE Jack GRM AUS
2 15 14:06:00 GRABSCH Bert THR GER
3 35 14:07:00 MCEWEN Robbie RSH AUS
4 13 14:08:00 EISEL Bernhard THR AUT
5 105 14:09:00 HAYMAN Mathew SKY AUS
6 174 14:10:00 DEVOLDER Stijn VCD BEL
7 57 14:11:00 MAGAZZINI Enrico LAM ITA
8 46 14:12:00 REYNES MIMO Vicente OLO ESP
9 156 14:13:00 STEEGMANS Gert QST BEL
10 106 14:14:00 HENDERSON Gregory SKY NZL
11 144 14:15:00 CASTROVIEJO Nicolas EUS ESP
12 108 14:16:00 SUTTON Christopher SKY AUS
13 185 14:17:00 CALLEGARIN Daniele TT1 ITA
14 24 14:18:00 COOKE Baden SBS AUS
15 53 14:19:00 BONO Matteo LAM ITA
16 12 14:20:00 CAVENDISH Mark THR GBR
17 55 14:21:00 KVACHUK Olekdandr LAM UKR
18 198 14:22:00 SCHORN Daniel APP AUT
19 92 14:23:00 BRUTT Pavel KAT RUS
20 192 14:24:00 BARTA Jan APP CZE
21 45 14:25:00 KAISEN Olivier OLO BEL
22 54 14:26:00 HONDO Danilo LAM GER
23 165 14:27:00 MONDORY Lloyd ALM FRA
24 94 14:28:00 KUCHYNSKI Aliaksandr KAT BLR
25 21 14:29:00 NUYENS Nick SBS BEL
26 41 14:30:00 GREIPEL André OLO GER
27 26 14:31:00 MARYCZ Jaroslaw SBS POL
28 172 14:32:00 BOZIC Borut VCD SLO
29 145 14:33:00 FERNANDEZ Koldo EUS ESP
30 122 14:34:00 BODNAR Maciej LIQ POL
31 103 14:35:00 CIONI Dario-David SKY ITA
32 47 14:36:00 SIEBERG Marcel OLO GER
33 111 14:37:00 BRUSEGHIN Marzio MOV ITA
34 182 14:38:00 BAZZANA Alessandro TT1 ITA
35 101 14:39:00 SWIFT Ben SKY GBR
36 81 14:40:00 HUSHOVD Thor GRM NOR
37 33 14:41:00 HUNTER Robert RSH RSA
38 64 14:42:00 BURGHARDT Marcus BMC GER
39 2 14:43:00 CANCELLARA Fabian LEO SUI
40 118 14:44:00 VENTOSO Francisco MOV ESP
41 14 14:45:00 GOSS Matthew Harley THR AUS
42 153 14:46:00 CIOLEK Gerald QST GER
43 6 14:47:00 O'GRADY Stuart LEO AUS
44 183 14:48:00 BERTOGLIATI Rubens TT1 SUI
45 22 14:49:00 BOARO Manuele SBS ITA
46 151 14:50:00 BOONEN Tom QST BEL
47 134 14:51:00 DYACHENKO Alexandr AST KAZ
48 193 14:52:00 BENEDETTI Cesare APP ITA
49 126 14:53:00 OSS Daniel LIQ ITA
50 194 14:54:00 GOTTFRIED Alexander APP GER
51 44 14:55:00 HANSEN Adam OLO AUS
52 132 14:56:00 BAZAYEV Assan AST KAZ
53 36 14:57:00 MURAVYEV Dmitriy RSH KAZ
54 17 14:58:00 VELITS Martin THR SVK
55 38 14:59:00 RAST Gregory RSH SUI
56 71 15:00:00 BRESCHEL Matti RAB DEN
57 187 15:01:00 MEGIAS LEAL Javier TT1 ESP
58 97 15:02:00 PAOLINI Luca KAT ITA
59 62 15:03:00 BALLAN Alessandro BMC ITA
60 107 15:04:00 STANNARD Ian SKY GBR
61 84 15:05:00 HAUSSLER Heinrich GRM AUS
62 152 15:06:00 CHAVANEL Sylvain QST FRA
63 37 15:07:00 OLIVEIRA Nelson RSH POR
64 197 15:08:00 KÖNIG Leopold APP CZE
65 158 15:09:00 VANDEWALLE Kristof QST BEL
66 142 15:10:00 ARAMENDIA Javier EUS ESP
67 8 15:11:00 VOIGT Jens LEO GER
68 162 15:12:00 CHÉREL Mikael ALM FRA
69 58 15:13:00 RIGHI Daniele LAM ITA
70 168 15:14:00 RAVARD Anthony ALM FRA
71 75 15:15:00 SLAGTER Tom Jelte RAB NED
72 147 15:16:00 PEREZ MORENO Ruben EUS ESP
73 77 15:17:00 WEENING Pieter RAB NED
74 164 15:18:00 GASTAUER Ben ALM LUX
75 195 15:19:00 HUZARSKI Bartosz APP POL
76 102 15:20:00 ARVESEN Kurt Asle SKY NOR
77 135 15:21:00 GASPAROTTO Enrico AST ITA
78 125 15:22:00 NERZ Dominik LIQ GER
79 28 15:23:00 ROBERTS Luke SBS AUS
80 68 15:24:00 VAN AVERMAET Greg BMC BEL
81 27 15:25:00 NOVAL GONZALEZ Benjamin SBS ESP
82 161 15:26:00 ELMIGER Martin ALM SUI
83 133 15:27:00 CLARKE Simon AST AUS
84 191 15:28:00 DIETZIKER Andreas APP SUI
85 186 15:29:00 KOBZARENKO Valeryi TT1 UKR
86 127 15:30:00 PONZI Simone LIQ ITA
87 63 15:31:00 BOOKWALTER Brent BMC USA
88 146 15:32:00 PEREZ LEZAUN Alan EUS ESP
89 173 15:33:00 DE GENDT Thomas VCD BEL
90 114 15:34:00 MADRAZO RUIZ Angel MOV ESP
91 121 15:35:00 SAGAN Peter LIQ SVK
92 96 15:36:00 OVECHKIN Artem KAT RUS
93 104 15:37:00 FROOME Chris SKY GBR
94 124 15:38:00 CARUSO Damiano LIQ ITA
95 138 15:39:00 RENEV Sergey AST KAZ
96 157 15:40:00 STYBAR Zdenek QST CZE
97 175 15:41:00 LAGUTIN Sergey VCD UZB
98 166 15:42:00 MONTAGUTI Matteo ALM ITA
99 176 15:43:00 MARCATO Marco VCD ITA
100 34 15:44:00 KLÖDEN Andreas RSH GER
101 18 15:45:00 VELITS Peter THR SVK
102 98 15:46:00 PLIUSCHIN Alexandr KAT MDA
103 11 15:47:00 ALBASINI Michael THR SUI
104 112 15:48:00 GUTIERREZ PALACIOS José Ivan MOV ESP
105 61 15:49:00 HINCAPIE George BMC USA
106 155 15:50:00 DEVENYNS Dries QST BEL
107 136 15:51:00 KANGERT Tanel AST EST
108 196 15:52:00 IMPEY Daryl APP RSA
109 95 15:53:00 LOSADA Alberto KAT ESP
110 25 15:54:00 LARSSON Gustav SBS SWE
111 23 15:55:00 CHRISTENSEN Mads SBS DEN
112 88 15:56:00 VANDEVELDE Christian GRM USA
113 113 15:57:00 LASTRAS GARCIA Pablo MOV ESP
114 163 15:58:00 DESSEL Cyril ALM FRA
115 4 15:59:00 GERDEMANN Linus LEO GER
116 178 16:00:00 POELS Wouter VCD NED
117 143 16:01:00 AZANZA SOTO Jorge EUS ESP
118 177 16:02:00 PIDGORNYY Ruslan VCD UKR
119 67 16:03:00 TSCHOPP Johann BMC SUI
120 181 16:04:00 EFIMKIN Alexander TT1 RUS
121 85 16:05:00 HESJEDAL Ryder GRM CAN
122 7 16:07:00 SCHLECK Andy LEO LUX
123 141 16:09:00 IZAGIRRE INSAUSTI Gorka EUS ESP
124 154 16:11:00 DE WEERT Kevin QST BEL
125 116 16:13:00 SAMOILAU Branislau MOV BUL
126 43 16:15:00 DE GREEF Francis OLO BEL
127 115 16:17:00 ROJAS GIL Jose Joaquin MOV ESP
128 42 16:19:00 BAKELANTS Jan OLO BEL
129 5 16:21:00 MONFORT Maxime LEO BEL
130 83 16:23:00 DANIELSON Tom GRM USA
131 16 16:25:00 VAN GARDEREN Tejay THR USA
132 65 16:27:00 FRANK Mathias BMC SUI
133 93 16:29:00 CARUSO Giampaolo KAT ITA
134 76 16:31:00 TEN DAM Laurens RAB NED
135 3 16:33:00 FUGLSANG Jakob LEO DEN
136 74 16:35:00 MOLLEMA Bauke RAB NED
137 31 16:37:00 LEIPHEIMER Levi RSH USA
138 1 16:39:00 SCHLECK Frank LEO LUX
139 73 16:41:00 KRUIJSWIJK Steven RAB NED
140 51 16:43:00 CUNEGO Damiano LAM ITA

TdS/TdF: changing point of view

My last posts are quite hard. The reason could sound paradoxical: I really care about Andy and have high expectations. I still belive he is one of the best riders in the world and probably the best of his generation. I want him to achieve all the great results he can and deserves AND/OR to find his way in life to be happy and in peace again. 
Blind supporters always saying GREAT! BRAVO! YEAH! don't help him too much and let me such an amazement that force me to think again about why I run this blog. First answer is to write stories, that's I love. Second one is: to share what I find about Andy, given that I 'update' myself first and it would be a waste to not. Third one is - as I often said - to give Andy a special gift, but probably it would be better to say: to be in touch with him in spite he's so busy and hardly answers mails.
So as a cycling - not blind - supporter I am disappointed and critical, can't avoid to be. But tonight I couldn't sleep and the idea came to my mind to be watching things by the wrong point of view. 
Andy had a very bad end of season last year: TdF fail - it was a fail even if he's the moral winner of that race and a wonderful second and a fantastic White Jersey: he wasn't happy, we can't be as well - the mess with his team, the 'beer-gate' with all that shit they started writing around... In a certain way he spent the winter reconsidering his life - and that's good. We read he isn't happy with his level - of course - and fed up to be considered 'the little bro'.
He has a new team, builded around him, Frank and Fabian and managed by people who well know him and care. I'm sure their point of view is: what is more important now for Andy? If you think a bit it's easy to answer: to win Tour de France, to be sure to win it. You can't be 100% sure, but you can try to make it as  sure as possible: focusing just on it, training for it, puting a very little pressure on your rider in all other races, rassuring him about his shape minimizing fails and exalting results always looking to that goal. Not a profesional goal: a personal one. Of course a victory in Tour de France would be great for LEOPARD TREK, but for Andy could be the turning point that allows finally to move on.
It could be sounds weird at the moment, but in my opinion Andy can win many Tour de France, many Giros, many Vuelta, many Classics too - Vlanderen included. The problem is just in his head. By that point of view all I wrote in the previous posts makes no sense: I simply watch the last vid I posted, see he's happy, his eyes smiling like in Liège, where he was 'only' 3th on the podium where he had been celebrated as the winner in 2009, but that's fine. Critics can make you reflect but love makes you go on and winn your challenge. 
Tour de France in two weeks: your Tour again, go and take it.