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SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain (VN) – Leopard-Trek sport director Kim Andersen said the team has nothing to regret about its performance at the 2011 Tour de France.
Despite some criticism from fans and media that perhaps the Schleck brothers missed their best chance ever to win the Tour, Andersen said the team is more than satisfied with second and third overall with Andy and Fränk Schleck, respectively.
“Everyone on the team is satisfied with the Tour,” Andersen told VeloNews. “Second and third was a great result for the team. For a team that exists six months, it is a great result.”
The Schlecks made history by becoming the first brothers to stand together on the final podium in Paris.
Andersen said the brothers fulfilled a life-long dream by reaching the podium shoulder to shoulder and have no second thoughts about falling short of winning the yellow jersey.
“For me it was a dream to put them both there,” Andersen continued. “We had a criterium in Luxembourg on Thursday. There were impressive crowds there. It was very nice to see that.”
Andersen shot back at criticism that the team could have done more to isolate eventual winner Cadel Evans to have a chance to better position Andy Schleck going into the final time trial.
He said it’s too easy to look back at a race and said the team rode well with the conditions it confronted daily in the unfolding competition.
“There’s nothing missing,” he said. “We didn’t make any big mistakes. The race is the race, you cannot look back now. You can say maybe the Galibier was 1.5km too long. You can also say, if Andy doesn’t get dropped into Gap, then maybe Andy doesn’t attack on the Galibier stage.
“If not this, if not that, at the end of the day, it doesn’t change anything. They had a good race and that’s how it is.”
Andersen said the ultimate goal of putting one of the Schleck brothers onto the highest step in Paris does not change.
Andy has finished second three times straight while Frank reached the podium for the first time after finishing in the top five two times previously.
“Now we can go for the next goal — to win the Tour,” Andersen said. “We shall see what happens. For sure, there will be more opportunities for us to win.”
By Saturday, it was obvious the team had already turned the page on the Tour, when Fränk Schleck rode to sixth in Clásica San Sebastián in northern Spain.
“The team rode well today. Fränk was close to going with (winner Philippe) Gilbert, but he just missed a little bit,” Andersen said. “Gilbert was like a motorbike.”
Despite being scheduled to start Saturday, Andy Schleck skipped the Clásica San Sebastián because he will be traveling to the United States for a long trip ahead of the Colorado tour. Andersen wanted the younger of the Schleck brothers to have a full weekend at home before crossing the Atlantic.
Both brothers will participate in the inaugural Colorado tour, which will feature the entire 2011 Tour de France podium with the confirmation that Tour winner Cadel Evans will also start.
“They will be doing some things with sponsors before the Colorado tour,” Andersen said. “We are looking forward to the experience of racing in Colorado. We like racing in America. We also have a big sponsor whose name is Trek, so it’s important to be there.”
Andersen said the Schleck brothers will continue racing through the end of the season, though their final schedule has not been finalized.