Frank Schleck (CSC) crossed the finish line at the Tour of Switzerland kissing a good luck charm after surviving a spectacular high-speed crash on the descent to the finish of the fifth stage on Wednesday.
Schleck must have seen his hopes of success in this year?s Tour de France flash in front of his eyes as lost control on a high-speed corner and flipped over the barriers. He fell several feet but somehow emerge relatively unscathed. He finished the stage several minutes down and had some cuts and bruises but was just happy to have survived.
?It was a genuine miracle that I wasn’t badly hurt. I’m pretty bruised and it’ll hurt for sure over the next couple of days, Schleck said on the Team CSC website.
?I lost the opportunity to win Tour de Suisse with that crash, but mainly I’m just really grateful that I’m all right and still able to work my way towards the Tour de France,?
The crash perhaps indicates that descending is the lanky Luxembourg rider?s weakest link and it could be something his rivals will now use against him in the Tour de France.
He made an impressive solo attack on the last climb of the stage to Caslano, showing he is definitely one of the favourites for the Tour this year. He started the twisting descent 20 seconds clear of Markus Fothen (Gerolsteiner) and was virtual race leader at one point but the talented young German quickly caught him and seemed far more at ease on the fast corners.
Fothen managed to avoid following Schleck off the road and went on to win the stage. He gained 57 seconds on leader Igor Anton but the Euskaltel rider kept the race lead before Thursday?s key stage to the Verbier ski resort.