Thursday, 17 May 2012

Frank Schleck V Alex Rasmussen: Handbags At Dawn

Stage 11 of the Giro d'Italia saw Frank Schleck lose 46 seconds on his main rivals, leaving him trailing 2 minutes 11 seconds on the Pink Jersey. Frank says he got caught up behind two crashes, the first being the fault of Alex Rasmussen (Garmin Barracuda). Rasmussen was quick to brand Schleck a 'liar' and the dispute has spilled over into today's stage and a very open twitter war...

“Just before the final lap Alex Rasmussen gave his teammate Christian Vande Velde a big push to launch him upfront. While doing this he was practically going backwards himself and he was like a wall in the middle of the pack. Incredible. I hit him from behind and stood completely still. Then I started chasing like hell and I made it back to the peloton that had already started the last climb.'' Frank said after the race, he continued: "But then bad luck struck again, because there was another crash and everybody was standing still again. Normally, I would have been in the front before the crash, but because of Rasmussen's move I was completely behind. I lost precious time there and it was impossible to get back to the group once I got rolling again."

He branded the move by Alex Rasmussen as 'stupid' before grabbing his rule book: “Both crashes were out of my control and I had to stop twice. These are precious seconds and it's frustrating that you have to lose them in such a way. I wish there was footage of the incident. I think launching a teammate is against the UCI rules and even more so, it puts other riders in danger, as I have experienced first hand today...”

Rasmussen hit back with: "It's totally a lie, it was not that way at all. The crash occurred on a bend shortly before we went out on the last lap, when he came and ran straight into the side of me and ran my derailleur off. He's actually the lucky one, because nothing happened to him nothing and he could continue to ride away. I had to remain standing to change my bike and thus could not help more on the stage, At that time I had handed Ryder to the front, and was about to fall quietly back in the box. So I rode completely relaxed. He (Schleck) comes up in panic, because he is too far back. So it was his own fault that he ran into me. But he is obviously upset that he was losing time.”

Whether Rasmussen was at fault we will probably never know, as there seems to be a distinct lack of footage, however it wouldn't be the first time we hear one of the Schleck brothers take a swipe at another rider when things are not going their way and both have a tendency to whine quite alot. Their lack of descending skills followed by a rant along the lines of "Stupid downhill's, who needs'um, hills are for riding up, going down them is just dangerous." while very few others in the peloton moaned about the descent in last years Tour springs to mind...

Rasmussen raises another good point of course, what the hell was Frank Schleck doing so far back in the pack in the first place? The Schlecks are often criticised for their tactical ineptitude.

Today twitter has been alive with mock versions of Frank Schleck moaning which has made for quite amusing entertainment, mainly courtesy of @NYvelocity and @UCI_Overlord who often provide good value. But Frank Schleck has also been on twitter today: ''@schleckfrank: Sorry that Rasmusen had to wait for an other bike and couldn't win the stage,:)i dislocated my shoulder yesterday,i ll take it day by day'' a bit of a cheap shot and it remains to be seen how badly hurt Frank Schleck is as a result of the Rasmussen 'Incident'.

Alex Rasmussen recently replied again on twitter, adding fuel to the fire with: ''@AlexRazi: F Schleck needs to learn about the laws of physics. If you choose to purposefully take out a rider, don't choose one twice your size. #snap''

It's all getting a bit 'handbags at dawn' but it will be interesting to see how the spat effects the rest of the peloton, if it does at all - but its not unknown for a dispute between teams to come to a head on the road. In fact Levi Leipheimer and Omega Pharma Quickstep refused outright to do any work at the front of the bunch in this weeks Tour of California to help Chirs Horners Radioshack-Nissan team bring a break-away back, following an ongoing spat between ex-teammates Levi and Horner (see Here)...


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  2. Thanks Roff, glad you are enjoying it!