2011 in Review: Vuelta al Pais Vasco Stage 1

With Andy Schleck disappointing and then withdrawn from Paris-Nice, a look back at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco gives us cycling fans a short glimpse of what Schleck looks like attacking, rather than fading off the back. The team doctors excused Schleck by saying he was having some gastrointestinal issues, and that may well be true. Fans, however, are tired of seeing Schleck race well for about six days a year, most of them in July, and riding not to win but for fitness in the rest of his races. There is something about winning that makes fans enjoy watching a rider, and it isn’t even always down to victory. Cycling is a sport where the effort and the passion has to be there, every time. In a race with 200 riders, one wins. That’s a part of the sport. You lose and you lose and you lose and if you are very, very good and very, very lucky, you might win one in a hundred. Or one in two hundred. But the real importance is that others knew you tried. We don’t always get that from Andy. He could learn a thing or two from the boys in this video, Andreas Kloden and Chris Horner. These old boys come to battle every time, whether it be for themselves or a teammate. Even the Geox team, a short-lived experiment that resulted in only a handful of wins, rode as a team and demanded something from its stars, even after they turned from Denis Menchov and Carlos Sastre to Jose Cobo.  Perhaps Andy needs a little time riding for Frank…

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