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.”
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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.”
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