Team News – Win for Schleck in Vuelta


Fränk Schleck of Trek Factory Racing wins the stage 16 summit finishin the Vuelta a España

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Team News – Win for Schleck in Vuelta

Team Press Release

Fränk Schleck wins Vuelta a España stage 16

All the sweat, tears, crashes, injuries and countless moments of bad luck for Trek Factory Racing’s veteran rider Fränk Schleck were washed away Monday when he crossed the summit finish of stage 16 at the Vuelta a España to take a well-deserved win.

“I don’t know,” exclaimed Schleck, overwhelmed by his victory. “It’s been so long for me without a win. The whole day was long and hard, but I was on a good day. It’s all so fresh still to make big comments…I just know that I owed myself to do well, I worked so hard for this, I deserved it.

“I have been fighting hard the last month, had some injuries, couldn’t do the Tour [de France] and came here with a lot of confidence for the Vuelta, and it was tough to win this stage, but all the work, all the injuries – today was all worth it.”

The 35-year-old veteran joined the early escape that surprisingly was let go without the usual big fight, and the 10 leaders were granted an insurmountable 22-minute lead by the third of seven categorized ascents. It was obvious that they would fight out the stage win.

On the penultimate climb, Schleck took pole position and set a pace that whittled the leading group to two – only Team Colombia’s Rodolfo Torres could keep up with the experienced Luxembourger.

“I was not so confident about Torres, I didn’t know much about him so I was pretty nervous,” explained Schleck. “He was tough, and I knew the other guys, but not him. Fortunately today, Luca [Guercilena, General Manager] returned to the Vuelta and he was in the car.

Josu [Larrazabal, director] was there too with Dirk [Demol, director] and they analyzed the race and told me what I needed to do. A little uncertain point was Torres; we didn’t know what he can do, or how he was feeling.”

The final climb was viciously steep. It was not long at six kilometers but carried a heartless 11 percent average gradient and a maximum pitch of 22 percent.

Torres and Schleck gave testing accelerations, but each held firm, no one giving an inch or showing a hint of weakness.

At mid-way, Schleck made his move and Torres cracked. The last steep pitch was oh! so painful as Schleck struggled over the final punishing 17 percent gradient less than 1000 meters from the finish and, uncertain or perhaps unwilling to believe the victory was his, he snuck a peak behind to search for Torres. But Torres was not in sight.

Fränk Schleck crossed the finish line, pumping his fist in the air in jubilation, 1 minute and 10 seconds ahead of the Colombian.

Schleck: “I came here with intentions of a nice classification, but then we had to change the team tactics after my crashes to focus on stages and not the GC anymore. We talked about this stage, a lot of reputed climbs and how it’s good for me as a lightweight, so I had the plan to go in the breakaway today.”

“This Vuelta has been so hard. The last 10 days have been so fast, the first hour 46, 47km/h average. And today it took a big character, a strong head, to go out there, and there were a few guys who dared to go out there, and this [win] has been the reward today. It showed character to go out and suffer again, and that’s why I got the win.”
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