Saxo Banks’ winter training camp nearly turned tragic yesterday in Denmark when all members of the ProTour team, including Tour France contender Andy Schleck, were buried alive in an avalanche.
According to news sources, the team was on a mountain bike ride deep in the Rold Skov forest when Schleck triggered an avalanche by screaming “I’ll kill Contador” into the thin mountain air. Within minutes the entire squad was buried 20 feet under.
“It was terrifying,” said Jens Voigt.” We were hit by a massive wall of snow. We were buried alive. But we pretended it was just another one of Bjarne’s crazy team building exercises. I could just feel one of Andy’s legs and would squeeze it to let him know he wasn’t alone.”
Team Manager Bjarne Riis, trailing the team on a snowmobile, was able to radio immediately for help. “If this had been Caisee d’Epargne or Astana, people would have died, said Riis. “That’s what the training is for. An avalanche, Alpe d’Huez, it’s all the same. I knew my guys would pull through.”
Within ten minutes a rescue team was on site poking the deep snow with 20 foot probes. “Suddenly I felt this stabbing pain but it was a good pain,” said Frank Schleck. “I knew it was salvation.”
The team had several cups of nice hot chocolate, then went for a plunge bath in a sub-zero lake before setting out on a night hike.