Flanked by all eight CSC-Saxo Bank team-mates and his team boss Bjarne Riis, the yellow jersey lying on the table at Frank Schleck?s rest day press conference on Monday said it all for the 28-year-old.
Relaxed and smiling, the Tour de France leader revealed that he?d received over 100 texts last night congratulating him -and he started his press conference thanking his supporters for all the backing he?d received.
The all-out attacks by CSC-Saxo Bank on Prato Nevoso on Sunday had ended by netting Schleck the yellow jersey. But by a tiny margin. So he promised he and team co-leader Carlos Sastre – sixth overall – would continue to attack to open up a larger distance on his rivals.
?CSC have been very aggressive up til now and we have to continue to be equally aggressive in the future.? Schleck commented.
?Having two leaders is the perfect way to ensure we?ll open up a bigger gap in the future.?
He recognised that reaching the final time trial with such a tiny advantage would not be ideal.
?But having the yellow jersey should motivate me a lot more. They say it gives you wings, don?t they??
He praised former team-mate Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Chipotle) for putting in such a strong performance on Sunday, which has enabled him to stay at less than a minute behind him overall.
?He looks very sharp, very good. He?s a friend and after working in the main group on Hautacam.? – a tactic which indirectly prevented Schleck from taking yellow – ?he sent me a text saying he owed me a couple of beers. Yesterday he was one of the first guys to congratulate me. That was nice.?
Asked what their team policy will be in the mountains, Bjarne Riis argued ?I think we need a little bit of time to think about it and come up with a plan.?
?In fact we need plans A, B anc C. We can?t just say ok we?re going to ride tempo and drop everybody. Life is not like this.?
?I think the whole of the top six are very dangerous. Any one of them could win the Tour. If you just focus on one, another one could slip away.?
But Riis took encouragement from the fact that Sunday?s stage ?is not the best for either Carlos or Frank. 100 kilometres of flat, and then a fairly straightforward climb is not the best for two slightly-built guys with not a lot of power.?
?It was better for Denis Menchov and Cadel Evans. But we could still open up a gap on them.?
?The next two stages are much more mountainous. So we?ll attack in a very different way.?
?The team?s got a lot of confidence now. We?re controlling the race full on, not in spasms like we did in previous years.? added CSC-Saxo Bank?s Stuart O?Grady, the winner of Paris-Roubaix in 2007.
But the million dollar question is, can they use that domination effectively enough to take the team?s first ever victory in the Tour de France?
|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: STAGE REPORTS
Stage 15: Schleck takes lead in the Alps
Stage 14: Oscar Freire wins in Digne-les-Bains
Stage 13: Cavendish takes fourth win
Stage 12: Cavendish makes it three
Stage 11: Arvesen wins
Stage 10: Evans takes yellow jersey by one second
Stage nine: Ricco wins in the Pyrenees
Stage eight: Cavendish wins again in Toulouse
Stage seven: Sanchez takes action-packed stage
Stage six: Ricco storms to win
Stage five: Cavendish takes first Tour win
Stage four: Schumacher wins TT and takes race lead
Stage three: Dumoulin wins stage from break
Stage two: Hushovd wins chaotic sprint
Stage one: Valverde wins
|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: NEWS
Comment: Why Cav is right to go home today
Cavendish pulls out of the Tour
Barloworld to end cycling sponsorship
Ricco speaks on Italian television
Cavendish joins the all-time greats
Saunier Duval sack Ricco and Piepoli
Tour bosses say fight against doping continues
Ricco denies doping at the Tour
Saunier Duval pull out of Tour
Tour’s top ten changes
Ricco positive for EPO at Tour
Analysis: Tour de France rest day summary
Cavendish battles through Pyrenees
Evans suffers but takes yellow jersey [stage 10]
Analysis: Hautacam shakes up 2008 Tour
Ricco silences critics with solo attack in Pyrenees [stage nine]
Cavendish talks about his second stage win [stage eight]
Beltran heads home but doubts remain about other Tour riders
David Millar: the dope controls are working
Manuel Beltran tests positive for EPO at the Tour
Comment: How the Tour rediscovered its spirit
Doping back in Tour de France headlines
Millar: close but no cigar in Super-Besse [stage six]
Super-Besse shows form of main contenders [stage six]
Millar to go for yellow [stage six]
Team Columbia’s reaction to Cavendish’s win [stage five]
Cavendish talks about his Tour stage win
Tour comment: Why Evans should be happy [stage four]
Millar: Still aiming for Tour yellow jersey [stage 4]
Who is Romain Feillu?
Cavendish disappointed with stage two result
Millar too close to Tour yellow jersey
Stage 2 preview: A sprint finish for Cavendish?
Millar happy after gains precious seconds in Plumelec
Valverde delighted with opening Tour stage win
Comment: Is Valverde’s win a good thing for the Tour?
|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: PHOTOS
|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: BLOGS
Life at the Tour part five
Life at the Tour part four
Life at the Tour part three
Life at the Tour part two
Life at the Tour part one
|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: GUIDE
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