Andy Schleck: I Have the Team to Win the 2011 Tour de France
Andy Schleck is confident he'll have the support he needs to win the 2011 Tour de France next year after finishing runner-up to Alberto Contador in the last two races.
Andy Schleck is confident he'll have the support he needs to finally win the Tour de France next year after finishing runner-up to Alberto Contador in the last two races.
Just don't ask him who will be the support.
"I know I have the team for this," Schleck said at the unveiling of the 2011 Tour de France route earlier today.
But asked whether more riders would be named soon to the new Luxembourg-based Team Leopard True Racing he's jumping to after leaving the Danish Team Saxo Bank-SunGard, Schleck said, "I don't know."
Several Saxo Bank riders are known to be following Schleck to the new squad after this season, including his brother Frank Schleck and time-trial world champion Fabian Cancellara.
Schleck is a three-time winner of the Tour's best young rider award, is one of cycling's premier climbers, and is likely to be favored by the 2011 Tour's challenging, mountainous course. He was second by a mere 39 seconds this year.
"I think it's harder than last year because we have one more hilltop finish," Schleck said. Among the notable climbs will be the Alpe d'Huez, last ridden in the 2008 Tour.
That stage finishes atop the 1,850-meter mountain and it's legendary 21 hairpin bends just 48 hours before the race ends on Paris' Champs Elysees on July 24.
But Schleck has marked another climb, stage 18's summit finish on the 2,645m-high Galibier, on his calendar.
"I think it's going to be decisive," Schleck said, "It's long, it's hard, and it's over 2,500 meters.
"The Alpe d'Huez is mythic, of course, but it's not Galibier."
Schleck said the course's relative lack of time-trialing, his weakest discipline, would also play into his hands.
"I'm happy that there's not too much time trial, because I still think it's my weakness, but definitely I prefer a 43-kilometer time trial the last day than the first day," Schleck said.
The 25-year-old from Luxembourg said perennial arguments over whether the Pyrenees or the Alps were harder climbs was a false debate.
"A lot of riders say they are good in the Pyrenees but not in Alps, but it's always going uphill," Schleck said, "so in the end it's the same."