Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) is concentrated on his own programme leading to the Classics and Tour de France despite the strong showing of rival Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d’Epargne) two weeks ago at the Tour Down Under.

“There are no two riders you can compare, they are all different,” said Schleck. “If he needs to be good in the Classics then maybe he needs to be good now.”

Spain’s Valverde started his season in Adelaide, Australia, at the Tour Down Under for the first time in his career. He made the most of it, sending his team to the front on several occasions. He finished second ahead of Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) in the Stirling stage and help team-mate Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d’Epargne) win the queen stage to Willunga.

Schleck and Valverde will face each other for the first time at the Mallorca Challenge, starting Sunday and running though Thursday. Luxembourg’s Schleck won the Liège-Bastogne-Liège classic last year, beating two-time winner Valverde in the process. Schleck also went on to finish runner-up to Alberto Contador (Astana) and win the young rider classification at the Tour de France.

“I don’t really look a lot at what the others are doing, I do my own thing,” he explained from Mallorca. “I did it last year, successfully, and I will try to do it again this year.”

His early season is built abound being on form for the Ardennes Classics at the end of April. After Mallorca, he races Ruta del Sol, Eroica, Tirreno-Adriatico, Waregem, E3 Prijs, Ghent-Wevelgem and then País-Vasco.

Related links

Tour Down Under 2010: Coverage index

  • John Calliott

    It’s wise of Andy not to compare fitness with Valverde, as the latter’s 2010 season might be…um…condensed. There’s definite motivation for early season races.