Montag, 27. April 2009
About yesterday's victory...
Jean-Claude Juncker (Prime Minister and Financial Minister): A phenomenal performance
Jean Asselborn (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and immigration): Congratulations and I am pretty sure that it wasn't your last win.
Andy himself: I'm pretty proud on myself because this race is one of my favourites. Unfortunately there is also a negative side of it, next year I won't be able to show a better performance.
Johny Schleck: It is incredible what all happened during just one week. First Fränk's accident, then the wonderful second place of Andy at Fléche Wallone and now the victory. Liège - Bastogne - Liège has a very high standing in our whole family. For us it is the most important one day race during the whole season, you could call it our favourite. We like it so much because the race takes place near our home and so there are always a lot of fans from Luxembourg.
Kim Andersen: Amazing! Sensational! At the moment it is an absolutely crazy feeling I have. What Andy did today is something you can't put in words. I knew before that he is in a good shape but today was far better than every expectation.
Fränk: I just can take off my hat. Today Andy showed the world's elite their the maximum potential and he was even better. I always believed in him and I knew that he will take the victory. This moment is far more emotional and beautiful than standing on the podium after my own victory. And impossible to explain all the feelings and emotions I have right now. Right now I'm just enjoying the time here but truly realizing what happend? Maybe next week. At the moment I'm just very proud on Andy.
Christian Prudhomme: That was an extraordinary victory, a truly great win. Andy was simply the best today and he showed to rest what they can do and what he did. I'm sure that in the future we will have a lot of fun while watching Andy and seeing him win.
Maybe you have already seen the video on youtube but I thought that I post it anyway because I just love this two brothers and their relationship. Of course you can find some more videos/interviews of the Schlecks on rtl.lu (some links 1, 2, 3) Additionally I found a photo from yesterday's celebration. Andy's hair looks really different, more serious I would say. I prefer the other look.
Sonntag, 26. April 2009
And an interview (just audio) with Fränk after the race.
Just a few minutes ago Andy won Liège - Bastogne - Liège (or Léck-Baaschtnech-Léck how the Luxembourgians call it). I only watched the last 15 kilometers but I just loved what I saw. I have to admit that I not only loved to see Andy win but the whole thing that started about two kilometers before they reached the finish.
Everytime the camera showed Fränkie, he smiled like he would attend the smiling world championships and turned his thumb up. Additionally it was very touching to see how the fall into the others arms after the race.
Btw the German commentators told a cute story from last year when Fränkie finished third and Andy fourth at Liège - Bastogne - Liège. The two wanted to congratulate eachother for the great race but they were in different areas and a policeman wanted to stop Fränkie to change to areas to meet Andy and then they had great arguments. They almost started a fist fight until another policeman told that it is okay to change the areas...
I just love the brotherly love between the Schlecks!
But today's win wasn't the only great thing happened during this week for the the best cycling brothers on earth. Surely the beginning of the week was a bit suboptimal with Fränkies fall but after seeing him on the bicycle again, I'm pretty sure that it didn't affect him to much and that he had again enough blessing in disguise.
Instead of starting at the Flèche Wallone he took a short break and made a great race today. Catching every guy who just had the idea of attacking puppy Schleck's victory ;) And I think that I don't have to talk about how amazing the week were for Andy. Second at Flèche Wallone, First at Liège - Bastogne - Liège.
Life could go on like that...
Dienstag, 21. April 2009
To say the truth I didn't follow the season very much and I can't really explain why. Maybe it is because I have a lot of work at the moment because of some upcoming exams and when I had time there wasn't a lot new about my favourite brothers.
Anyway... On last sunday I had a bit of free time and I did some channel-hopping on TV and suddenly I saw Bjarne Riis standing next to a cyclist who had an accident when I switched on Eurosport. At first I didn't pay so much attention to it but then some seconds later I realized that the rider who was in a sorry state wears a jersey which reminded me a lot of the jersey the Luxembourgian champion wears.
As you can imagine I was kind of shocked and thought 'no, not again'... Sometimes it seems a bit like Fränkie is hunted by bad luck because I already fell so often within this and last season (just don't want to see the accident from Tour de Suisse again). But then again I have to think about how much luck he always has because the things could turn out a lot more worse.
Surely he has a lot of pain at the moment (he won't take part at Fléche Wallone) but he never get injured heavily. Seems like the lucky charm he got by his mother, helps!
I don't know if you follow puppy Schlecks diary on cyclingnews.com but I do so and when I read his last entry I asked myself how it looked like when these eight 'gangly' guys danced through the Sexy Bank Bus and performed parts of Step Up 2: The Streets.
Which moves out of this did they exactly tried to reproduce?!?!?!
Freitag, 6. Februar 2009
Hopefully you all had a good time and possibly you are as excited as me that the new season has already started. I just can hope that it will be a successful one for my two favorite cyclists - Andy & Fränk because they are simply the best!
I hope nobody had posted that "diary" of Andy before... In any case I will do it and if anyone did it before, sorry ;)
Andy Schleck diary
Now just 23 years of age, Andy Schleck made a name for himself during the 2007 Giro d'Italia when he won the best young rider classification. The Luxembourger continued to impress in 2008, when he took the same jersey at the Tour de France while helping his squad to win the teams and general classification.
Schleck is the younger brother of Saxo Bank teammate Fränk. The pair's father, Johnny, also contested some of the world's largest cycling races including the Tour de France and Vuelta a España between 1965 and 1974.
The cycling world is expecting more big things from Schleck in 2009, and he'll be keeping you informed of his progress throughout the year on Cyclingnews.com.
February 5, 2009
The calm before the storm
As I write I'm sitting by a warm, crackling fire at my parents' home in Luxembourg. I've been here for a week but in the morning my season starts for real when I fly to the US. Gazing out of the window, everything is still, like the calm before the storm. I know that once I hit the US it's going to be non-stop and manic for the next ten months. From California to France for Paris-Nice and then Liège, before I know it I'll be back here at my folks' writing about the upcoming season in 2010.
But as this is my first diary for Cyclingnews, let's go back a few weeks to the beginning of the year. It got off got to the perfect start when Karsten Kroon, Fränk, his girlfriend and I flew to New York for a few days. It was all totally last-minute and unprepared but we managed to see one of my favourite Dutch DJs play. We spent the whole night dancing and it was an incredible experience. I spoke to Bjarne Riis when I was back and he didn't have any clue I was even out there. He didn't mind though – I don't have to check in with the boss every minute of the day but I did have to tell the whereabouts programme.
I get asked about its benefits and hang-ups a lot. I accept it; I know that cycling has its problems and that we cyclists have no one to blame but ourselves for the current condition of the sport. Sometimes it can be hard though. If I want to go out with friends I have to declare it, but I'm young and I don't plan every occasion. It must be worse for some of the older guys who have training and family commitments to juggle. Like I said, I accept that these measures have to happen, I just wonder if the authorities have gone too far.
Things have been quiet since I've been home. I've been putting the finishing touches to my new apartment, which is being constructed now. I've been picking out bathroom tiles and things like that. Picking out tiles? Yeah, I know it sounds goofy but I'm really excited about having my own place. It is only a few hundred yards from my parents and my brother Fränk.
"In a sport that's won and lost on the smallest of margins, knowing your teammates inside-out can make the difference. "
- Andy Schleck explains why the team's unique training camp is important.
Right now I have good morale though. Unfortunately I picked up a tendonitis in my right ankle during Saxo's training camp in Portugal and I'll need to take up to three days of rest. It's frustrating, but it's not a huge concern at this point in the season – my objectives come much later. At camp we spent time measuring up our new Specialized bikes and I kept swapping in and out of different cleats on all the rides. That's when I picked up the niggle. I just have to be patient and get back up to speed during the training camp in the US. I'll be a little bit behind when I get there but it's not a big deal.
Training camps are always a good experience. You may have seen the pictures of me firing guns and jumping into lakes from our first camp of the year in Denmark. The team spent a lot of time in the woods, which I really liked. I'm used to spending a lot of time with nature because when I'm home, my father and I hunt and fish. So for me the camping and outdoors weren't so much of a struggle. The only bit I didn't like was jumping into the ice-cold water at the end. It all helps to build team morale and help us bond.
Speaking to some of the more experienced guys on the team, it's a million miles away from how teams used to get together but it helps you get to know everyone really well and with that you learn how each person reacts to different pressures. In a sport that's won and lost on the smallest of margins, knowing your teammates inside-out can make the difference. During races, tensions run high and riders can do things that frustrate and anger you – sometimes even your own teammates – so you need to understand these things and learn to adapt and deal with them. If you can do that then your team is going to be far more united when your backs are against the wall.
There are a few new, young riders on the team this year. With that I've come to realise that I'm not one of youngest anymore. When I first started at CSC I had lot of help from the older guys and I'm trying to move myself into a similar role for a few of these kids. It's my fifth year as a professional - and although I most certainly don't know it all, I try to help the new riders as much as possible. When I saw them at the camp it reminded me how I was at that age: full of energy, always trying to impress and never showing weakness. These youngsters want to be with the top guys on all climbs, when they should just be concentrating on their training programmes and what they need to focus on.
One new rider was pretty sick and you could see that on the rides. I was saying to him, "Go home, this won't do you any good. Head back, get some rest and then come and show us what you can do when you're 100 per cent." They don't have to prove anything. I think they appreciate what I say and I hope I can carry on helping them.
We tried the new bikes in Majorca, too. We were only on them for a few hours but they felt really comfortable. They provide better handling than Cervelo and on descents they're really smooth. I can't say what they're like on the big climbs as we've not been able to test them on that terrain. But the training bikes we've had so far have been good.
Back to the here and now: the fire is starting to die out - a sure sign that I have to start packing and that my season is about to get underway. I'm excited. I hope you are too....