According to their father, CSC duo Frank and Andy Schleck rarely talk of the sport that has put them into the global spotlight.
But when they do get round to talking of their profession in the Schleck household, it usually centers on the Tour de France yellow jersey.
On Sunday, Frank realized one of his boyhood dreams when he pulled on the yellow jersey with a seven second lead on Austrian Bernhard Kohl of the Gerolsteiner team, with former leader and last year's runner-up Cadel Evans just one second further off the pace.
Bernhard Kohl sat in the sunlit conference room of the mountain resort hotel Navize Te in the Italian Alps on the rest day of the Tour de France for more than hour, patiently answering questions from nearly 100 international reporters.
It was a new experience for both sides. Never before in his career had the 26-year-old Austrian been the focus of so much attention and before last Sunday, when he rode his way to within seven seconds of the maillot jaune, no one, except for the most avid Austrian cycling fans, had ever even heard of … Bernhard who?
Weather: Sunny and warm, clear skies, variable winds blowing up the valleys, creating headwind on both hors catégorie climbs
Stage winner: Cyril Dessel (AG2R-La Mondiale) won a downhill sprint out of a four-man breakaway that included Yaroslav Popovych (Silence-Lotto), Sandy Casar (Francaise Des Jeux) and David Arroyo (Caisse d’Epargne).
The Bonette bust Most Tours are decided on the climbs, but the 23.5km descent off the 2802-meter Col de Bonette made for some decisive moments in what’s been a wild 95th edition.
There were several crashes, including a spectacular fall by John Lee Augustyne (Barloworld), who toppled over the edge near the summit, and another by Christian Vande Velde; the falls undercut their respective runs for glory.
Frenchman Cyril Dessel of AG2R finally drew a line under his nightmare 2007 season with a prestigious maiden win on the Tour de France 16th stage on Tuesday.
Dessel came to the wider cycling world's attention when he wore the race's yellow jersey for a day in 2006 — when he finally had to hand it over to disgraced American Floyd Landis.
A year later Dessel disappeared almost entirely from the peloton after succumbing to toxoplasmosis.
First up, rest days rock. After two weeks of racing, a day to relax a bit and kick back is like Christmas when you still believe in the big man. A morning to sleep late, eat a ridiculous amount of food, tool around on the bike for a while (preferably on some beautiful country Italian roads), grub down a bit more, sleep, then sleep a bit more, get a massage, eat another stupid amount of food, and then sleep again, ideally at least 10 hours.
Three weeks ago, Garmin-Chipotle’s Christian Vande Velde left his European home in Girona, Spain, for the Tour de France with the goal of his first-ever top 10 finish.
However as the Tour’s second rest day came to a close Monday, the 32-year-old American sits fifth overall, just 39 seconds behind race leader Frank Schleck, and is poised to capitalize on his strengths during stage 20’s time trial to fight for the Tour podium.
South African John-Lee Augustyn said he was lucky to escape with his life after a spectacular crash during the 16th stage of the Tour de France Tuesday left him halfway down a mountainside.
The Barloworld rider crossed the summit of the day's second unclassified climb on his own after attacking his leading group half a kilometer from the summit.
But moments later, after being rejoined by his group, he misjudged a right-hand bend and shot over the edge, leaving him 50 meters below on the gravel mountainside.
Christian Vande Velde’s miracle Tour de France ride took a dive in Tuesday’s hard-fought 157km, two-climb 16th stage when he crashed coming down the beyond-category descent off the Col de la Bonette.
Vande Velde, who started the day fifth overall at 39 seconds back, lost contact with the yellow jersey group about midway up the long, exposed 25.5km climb as CSC-Saxo Bank’s Andy Schleck set a menacing pace.
A list of the past 25 riders to win a Tour de France stage atop the legendary Alpe d'Huez climb, the climax of this year's mountain stages:
1952: Fausto Coppi (ITA)
1976: Joop Zoetemelk (NED)
1977: Hennie Kuiper (NED)
1978: Hennie Kuiper (NED)
1979: Joachim Agostinho (POR)
1980: Joop Zoetemelk (NED)
1981: Peter Winnen (NED)
1982: Beat Breu (SUI)
1983: Peter Winnen (NED)
1984: Luis Herrera (COL)
1986: Bernard Hinault (FRA)
1987: Federico Echave (ESP)
1988: Steven Rooks (NED)
1989: Gert-Jan Theunisse (NED)