Schleck crash 'helps' him

2010-08-27 20:35

Seville - Frank Schleck believes his crash at this year's Tour de France will give him an edge when the Tour of Spain begins in Seville on Saturday.

"The crash could become an advantage now because I only did four Tour (de France) stages and I'll be fresher physically than the rest of the riders who did all three weeks," he told Spanish sports daily Marca on Friday.

"Since then I've trained hard, and although I may lack a bit of race speed in the first few stages, hopefully I'll be up there soon."

Schleck, of Luxembourg, was forced out of the Tour after breaking his collarbone in three places in his fall on the third stage in July.

But the Saxo Bank rider has fought his way back to fitness and feels the Tour of Spain course will suit him.

"I've trained for it and even if I don't achieve it, I'm here to try to win the Tour of Spain," he said.

"There are a lot of mountains stages here, the climbs are maybe not as long as in the Tour de France but at least as tough. On paper the route is not at all bad for me."

His brother and Saxo Bank team mate, Andy Schleck, who was second in the Tour de France in 2009 and 2010 behind Spain's Alberto Contador, said he was less certain of his own condition.

"I'm not sure how good I am because I had a week's holiday after the Tour de France," he said.

"If I can be up there in the mountains with the top riders, that's great. You can only have the kind of form I had in the Tour once a year. Miracles don't happen."

Both riders named Russian Denis Menchov, twice a winner in the Tour of Spain, and Italian Vincenzo Nibali, third in this year's Tour of Italy, as their two biggest rivals.

"The Spanish, too, will be difficult to beat," added Frank. "Spain is a country with a great cycling tradition and great riders. They won't make it easy for us."