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Schleck knocks Tour over cobblestones section

Schleck knocks Tour over cobblestones section

Tour de France leader Andy Schleck has criticized race organizers for their decision to use daunting cobblestone sections this month, making the demanding course even tougher.
Several riders crashed during the early stages of the Tour, including Schleck's brother Frank, who had to pull out last week because he broke his left collarbone while falling on the cobbles.
"I think it's too dangerous. It's my brother who fell, but that's not why I'm saying it," Schleck said after Thursday's 11th stage, where he kept his lead of 41 seconds over defending champion Alberto Contador.
"It was my opinion before the Tour, and it still is."
Schleck managed to get through the cobblestones without too much trouble in the opening days.
That, he says with a touch of irony, shows he is adding different skills to his repertoire.
I (managed) to go over the cobblestones, that made me a bit more complete than before," he said.
Schleck then disagreed with a journalist's opinion that this year's Tour is shaping as a battle between pure climbers.
"I don't really agree that we're just pure climbers ... Alberto won a time trial last year, so that makes him a complete rider as well."
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EVANS GETTING BETTER: Two-time Tour runner-up Cadel Evans of Australia is optimistic that he is recovering well enough from his broken left elbow to be able to make an impression later in the race.
The 33-year-old Evans injured himself when he fell early in Sunday's 8th stage in the Alps.
Riding with an injury and thick bandaging has destroyed Evans' chances of winning the Tour for the first time. He is in 18th place overall and sits nearly eight minutes behind race leader Andy Schleck of Luxembourg.
"Sore as always, but it's getting better. There's a lot of guys who are pretty tired, stiff and sore like myself," Evans said after Thursday's flatter 11th stage from Sisteron to Bourg-les-Valence. "It's the bumps that really hurt, corners are OK. Day by day it's getting a little bit better."
Evans hopes to make up some ground on rivals in the coming days.
"Hopefully (I'll) be back to a good level tomorrow (Friday), and be able to stick somewhere within range," he said.
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PYRENEES SHAKE-UP: The battle for Tour de France supremacy between race leader Andy Schleck and defending champion Alberto Contador will be decided in the Pyrenees, according to Garmin-Transitions manager Jonathan Vaughters.
Vaughters, a former climbing specialist who once held the record for the fastest ascent up the feared Mont Ventoux climb, expects the Luxembourg challenger to fiercely test Contador over the four daunting Pyrenean climbs.
"(The Pyrenees) are going to be hard this year, the deciding point of the race, that's for sure," he said after Thursday's 11th stage. "I think Contador can make that up ... I bet it will go one way or another, like Schleck will gain more time or Contador will bring that all back. I don't think it will just stay 41 seconds."
Vaughters tips Contador to keep his title, especially as the penultimate stage of the Tour is a time trial, which favors the Spaniard.
"I would still say Contador," Vaughters said. "I just think he'll come better in the Pyrenees, and he's a better time trialer."
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BOONEN'S OPERATION: Former world champion Tom Boonen had an operation on his left knee on Thursday to treat a tendinitis problem.
Boonen, who has also won the famed Paris-Roubaix race three times, said the pain was becoming unbearable and had to be sorted out.
"I started to train last Friday, and the pain seemed to have gone away," Boonen said in a statement released by his Quick Step team on Thursday. "I tried to ride 100 kilometers on Monday and the situation immediately got worse."


Updated : 2021-05-15 18:51 GMT+08:00