Schlecks riding side by side. But which side?
While the Brothers Schleck are happy to be back riding together after that mean Johan Bruyneel tried to split them up, they still haven’t made a final decision on sides.
“Normally, I like Frank to my left but we have been talking about a change,” said Andy. “After my injuries and the hard work I did to recover, I think now I prefer my brother on my right.”
The brothers have apparently been experimenting with switching sides since the season began. “Even in training rides we have been taking turns,” said Frank. “I will take the right on the way out, then we stop for a coffee and after, Andy will take the right. We are trying to determine which is most beneficial.”
Team manager Luca Guercilena is happy to see both brothers riding together but is not ready to venture an opinion on the right-left issue. “For me it is about good sensations, being comfortable riding at speed in the peloton,” said Guercilena. “If Andy wants to be on the right side, then that’s fine.”
The decision may also come down to sports science and performance factors. “We have put Frank and Andy side by side in the wind tunnel,” said Klaus van Smirken, a technician for Trek. “Andy is taller so we’re looking at the data closely. Depending on wind direction, it may make more sense to place Andy on one side versus the other. If Frank can help Andy pick up a few watts by taking a particular side, then he’ll do it.”
Riders within the Trek Factory squad are also taking sides. “I think Frank should be on the right because Frank is Andy’s right hand man and brother,” said Jens Voigt. “That’s just my opinion and they can do what they want.”
Classics superstar Fabian Cancellara however is less interested in the right versus left conundrum. “The goal is to have Frank and Andy ride fast. This is not about right or left but forward and up front,” said Cancellara. “If you want to win, you cannot have your brother at your side at the finish-line. This is foolishness.”
The reaction from former RadioShack team manager Johan Bruyneel was predictable. “This is their problem, you see? I wanted Andy to ride his own race, by himself, to win the Tour,” said Bruyneel. “Who cares about right or left? Did Lance waste time wondering whether Chechu should be on his left or right shoulder?”
Still, it’s a decision that the brothers believe will help them reach their highest level. “We are always talking on the road, planning tactics and making jokes so it makes sense to pick a side, “said Andy. “I like to gesture with my right hand so it would perhaps be better if Frank is to my right. But then again his hearing is better in the right ear. It’s complicated.”
After riding together in the Tour of Oman, the brothers are still undecided on who will ride where. “We shall see. The season is still young,” said Franck. “There is plenty of time to decide a side.”