|Andy Schleck - The Next One?
[03.04 11:23] In the fan-chat on the Team CSC Official Fan Club site one of the questions often posed to visitors is; ”Whom do you see as the next big star in cycling sport.” And usually the answer is either Fränk or Andy Schleck.
Usually the conclusion will be that Fränk already is a big star, and then the answer is automatically that the next big star might well be baby-brother Andy. But this is not something, which makes the young rider grow too big for his shoes.”
”To me it's an honor that guys like Bobby Julich, Carlos Sastre and Jens Voigt see me as a ”coming man,” but I'm the one, who has to work hard to live up to this honor – they can't do it for me even though they'd probably like to. I wont amount to anything without hard work. One thing is to have talent, but you have to put it to good use,” is the young rider's reply to the question of how it feels to have such big profiles point to him as one of the future big profiles within the cycling sport.
”I think, I have the right attitude to make it happen. I think, I possess the right amount of discipline and I'm able to concentrate on my goals,” continues a confident Schleck.
This season Andy Schleck will probably get his Grand Tour debut in Giro d'Italia, but like his big brother Tour de France is the big dream:
”I'm hoping to get to do Tour de France next year. It's the biggest goal of my career, but I'm also focusing on becoming strong in the classics. But don't misunderstand – the Giro is very important to me as well. It might even be tougher than the Tour as far as the route goes, but all the commotion surrounding the Tour, as well as the fact that all the big stars are there and at their absolute best makes it something very special.”
But Schleck does realize, that he is not going to get a free pass to this particular race.
”When you're part of the best cycling team in the world, you know that the competition for those nine spots is extremely tough. If you can't live up to your potential you don't belong there,” he says.
But luckily he will be able to use this year's edition of the Giro to get to know the three-week races, which he finds very appropriate.
”This year's Giro suits me well. There's a team time trial, where our team is always strong and the other time trial is a mountain-one, which is good for me. That one isn't too long either, so all in all it should be pretty perfect for me really. I think, there'll be opportunities both for stage wins as well as a good overall result for me,” estimates Schleck, who does not want to risk guessing as to specific results, but settles for a cautious: “It would be nice to be in the top-15 or the top-20 overall and maybe a top-five spot in a mountain stage or two.”
As a person Andy is one big kid,” smiling comes easy to him and he is very open and talks to everyone. He comes across gentle as a lamb, but when he gets on his bike you quickly get the sense that he is born to race. If you see them together from behind they look very much alike, so it is no surprise that the Schleck-brothers are alike both as people and as riders.
”We think alike and have a lot of common features. We're both strong mentally, but then I think that's the case for all riders in the ProTour – you have to be to get that far. I think that Fränk has matured a lot over the last few years, because he all of a sudden found himself a star with victories in Amstel and on Alpe d'Huez, so he's starting to get used to the attention and to being a leader in some situations. Before that I was probably a bit more laid back than him, but I think Fränk is as well now. You also have to consider the fact that some of the attention I'm getting now, is because I'm his brother,” says Andy Schleck and continues:
”I'm a couple of kilos heavier than Fränk, but that's normal for a younger rider. Other than that we're both strong in the mountains and fairly all-round actually. I might be at a slightly higher level than Fränk was at my age, but he's improved a lot on Team CSC over the last few years, so the tables may turn on me later, who knows - he's definitely given me something to live up to, that's for sure!” says Andy Schleck, who clearly has tremendous respect for his older brother.
But it will be very exciting to see, whether Julich, Sastre, Voigt and everyone else turn out to be right, when they say that Andy Schleck will go far. Regardless his first big test will be this year's Giro d'Italia.