Frank Schleck faces the coming Tour de France mountain stages with one thought in mind: finish. His goal is to get to Paris, trying to help his RadioShack-Nissan to the overall team classification along the way.
"I'm going to try for a stage win, of course. We'll see what's going to happen, we'll see how long I can keep the shape up," Schleck told Cycling Weekly. "I'm surprised I can keep up with the first guys considering my race days, being tired and the high shape I've had for a long time."
Schleck feels he raced too much heading into the Tour. General manager, Johan Bruyneel selected him at the last minute to lead the Giro d'Italia team to replace Jakob Fuglsang, who suffered knee problems. Schleck made it through nearly two weeks before crashing and having to abandon. He said just before the Tour, that he is not ready to lead the team
Since the Tour started, it has deteriorated for Schleck. He lost 2-09 minutes due to the Metz maxi-crash and 4-32 in the Besançon time trial.
When he met Cycling Weekly on the steps of the RadioShack's bus, adhesive strapping covered his right side. His right shoulder still hurts and he tapes it daily. The pain from his hip passed, but the one from his ribs is still there. He reckons if the pain does not get as bad as it was when he abandoned the Giro in stage 15, then he will manage to get to Paris.
According to recent reports, he is upset that he even had to race the Giro.
"I won't say complaining. It's just a fact that I couldn't prepare for the Tour the way I wanted to. If I could've, I think that I could've had a good chance of placing in the top five," Schleck said.
"I'm not complaining about anything. My preparation wasn't the best it could be before the Tour. It's easy to compare myself to the big guys, they didn't have the preparation I did, doing almost the whole Giro, then going to the Tour of Luxembourg, the Tour of Switzerland and coming here. Just compare it to the other guys. I think it's obvious that it's not the best preparation to have."
Next year, he may prepare differently. He said, however, that he needs to respect his employer's wishes.
"If the team management tells me to do it, I have to do it," he added. "I respect that, I have to respect it."
Tour de France 2012: Latest news
Cavendish enjoying new Tour role
Wiggins taking nothing for granted in 'dream scenario'
Sky keeping Tour focus on Wiggins
Di Gregorio arrested by police at Tour de France
Daniel Martin courts King of the Mountains jersey
Wiggins' special yellow Tour de France skinsuit
Tony Martin abandons Tour de France
Wiggins proud of Tour time trial stage win
Wiggins lashes out after doping accusations
Tour de France 2012: Teams, riders, start list
Tour 2012: Who will win?
Tour de France 2012 provisional start list
Tour de France 2012 team list
Tour de France 2012: Stage reports
Stage 10: Voeckler wins and saves his Tour
Stage nine: Wiggins destroys opposition in Besancon TT
Stage eight: Pinot solos to Tour win as Wiggins fights off attacks
Stage seven: Wiggins takes yellow as Froome wins stage
Stage six: Sagan wins third Tour stage
Stage five: Greipel wins again as Cavendish fades
Stage four: Greipel wins stage after Cavendish crashes
Stage three: Sagan runs away with it in Boulogne
Stage two: Cavendish takes 21st Tour stage victory
Stage one: Sagan wins at first attempt
Prologue: Cancellara wins, Wiggins second
Tour de France 2012: Comment, analysis, blogs
Analysis: What we learned at La Planche des Belles Filles
Analysis: How much time could Wiggins gain in Tour's time trials
CW's Tour de France podcasts
Blog: Tour presentation - chasing dreams and autographs
Comment: Cavendish the climber
Tour de France 2012: Photo galleries
Stage 10 by Graham Watson
Stage nine by Graham Watson
Stage eight by Graham Watson
Stage seven by Graham Watson
Stage six by Graham Watson
Stage five by Graham Watson
Stage four by Graham Watson
Stage three by Graham Watson
Stage two by Andy Jones
Stage two by Graham Watson
Stage one by Graham Watson
Prologue photo gallery by Andy Jones
Prologue photo gallery by Roo Rowler
Prologue photo gallery by Graham Watson
Tour de France 2012: Team presentation
Sky and Rabobank Tour de France recce
Tour de France 2012: Live text coverage
Stage 10 live coverage
Stage nine live coverage
Stage six live coverage
Stage five live coverage
Stage four live coverage
Stage three live coverage
Cycling Weekly's live text coverage schedule
Tour de France 2012: TV schedule
ITV4 live schedule
British Eurosport live schedule
Tour de France 2012: Related links
Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish
Brief history of the Tour de France
Tour de France 2011: Cycling Weekly's coverage index
1989: The Greatest Tour de France ever
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