The elder of the Schleck brothers says he’s especially motivated following his crash in stage 3 of the Tour, which saw him exit the season’s most important race with a broken clavicle. Now back in good health, Schleck says he’s aiming for the GC.
“I want to go for the GC. If I’ve got the same legs as the Tour de Suisse, I can win the Vuelta,” said Schleck, who won the Swiss tour in June. “My head is 100 percent focused on that goal. I’m motivated. I have fully recovered from my crash although my collarbone was broken in three pieces. I’ve done a lot of training behind a scooter. After four or five days of racing at the Vuelta, I’ll be ready.”
Schleck and his brother, Andy, lead a powerful Saxo Bank team in what will be their last grand tour with Bjarne Riis.
Andy Schleck rode to second overall at the Tour de France for the second year in a row. He’s already said he’ll be ready to help Fränk in a push for the podium. Last year, the younger Schleck pulled out after eight days.
“The form of the Tour de France, it’s only once a year,” Andy Schleck said. “If I’m well, I’ll stay with Fränk for the third week.”
Fränk has raced only raced once since the Tour, but expects to ride into race form as the Vuelta unfolds.
“I’ve done only one race (Vattenfall Cyclassics on August 15). It would have been good to ride the Tour du Limousin but that was hardly compatible with my wedding on August 21,” he said. “There are more important things in life than bike races and that day has been wonderful.”
Fränk has identified the adversaries he fears the most: “Caisse d’Épargne always has a strong team. Nibali is a favorite as well as Sastre and Menchov who will ride together with Geox next year.”
Andy thinks the same and dared to predict the final podium in three weeks in Madrid: “Schleck, Nibali, Menchov will finish in that order, but I’m not giving the first name of the Schleck.”