Understanding the 2008 Sastre vs F Schleck

What exactly happened to Frank Schleck during the 2008 tour ?

Was their team orders for Sastre to move up ?

Was their in fighting in CSC ?

Was Sastre supposed to attack his teammate ? As I know Andy would have worked for his brother vs Carlos ?

Thanks for any explanation.
 
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My memories of that Tour are a little hazy, but nevertheless, what a great idea for a thread!

I think that Sastre was about a minute behind Schleck, approaching Alp duez. Evans was roughly equal in the standings with Sastre, but was seen as the favourite for the Tour overall, given his greater reputation in the ITT, of which there was still a long one to go on the penultimate day.

I don't see Sastre attacking on that climb, and being allowed (?) to attack, being based on any team orders. I think that CSC knew that they had two cards to play, and took the situation on its merits. If Carlos had struggled to gain much time on the other contenders, then that would have confused matters with the yellow jersey, however, since he quickly extended his advantage to over a minute on Evans on the road, it made sense for the Schleck brothers to more or less ride as a distraction, and to help Sastre gain as much time as possible, as it would be likely he would outperform Schleck in the ITT anyway.

Once Carlos had established a significant gap, it made no sense Andy working for Frank, unless in the process they could have dropped Cadel, which never appeared likely.

Frank Schleck also never appeared to have the 'winning is everything' attitude of some other riders either. He always seemed very happy for his brothers - greater - successes, and once he did get onto the Tour podium in 2011, seemed very satisfied with that (a little bit like when Valverde did). For a number of years he was one of the very best climbers in cycling, and possibly could have won a giro or vuelta if he had made it a target, but he was happy doing what he did.
 
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Frank had less than 10 seconds on Evans, and less than 20 on Kohl, then there was also Vandevelde at around a minute.

Sastre was about 45 seconds behind Evans, so CSC knew that they had to isolate and drop Evans, whence the crazy pace right from the outset of the stage from CSC. The plan was for Sastre and Andy to hit the lead group and split it up but the problem for Frank was nobody followed that second attack from Sastre. Evans was running on fumes from his crash and going so deep to protect that 1 second lead and the yellow jersey for so long and couldn't close. His superiority in the TT also would have played a part.

The other factor is how much everyone underestimated Sastre in the TTs. Even in the Armstrong years he was a consistent top 20-25 TTer at the TDF.

I think the bad blood came about because Frank didn't really get the opportunity to see if he could have dropped Evans and Kohl. He may well have, but chances were we would have ended up with Kohl, Vandevelde or even Menchov winning the Tour instead.

I still think that if Ricco didn't get carried away and flown so close to the sun he'd have won by a few minutes.
 
Reactions: Cookster15
Sastre was attacking Evans not his teammate.

It was a smart move by CSC as of their three pronged attack Sastre was probably seen as the least threat at the start of the Alpe stage. Carlos had been riding low key until that point but he obviously had huge form to put two minutes into Evans like that.

The other thing often forgotten or ignored is the big crash Evans had on stage 9. I think those injuries had a big effect on Evans and maybe CSC knew it.
 
Last edited:
Dec 13, 2012
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Just watched the stage again, it was on NBCSN in the US with commentary from Frank Schleck. He said it was agreed beforehand Sastre would attack first, and he did go hard in 1st km of Alpe d'Huez, got caught then went again immediately and opened a big gap and they never saw him again. Frank did attack 3-4 times but Evans got back each time, it looked like Frank was not on a great day since his attacks weren't very strong compared to some of the others. Evans looked close to snapping, there were many stretches where he sat in wheels with Efimkin or Kohl pulling but this is where Sastre moved out over 2 minutes. Frank said he was fine with Sastre's move since it was good team tactics, they needed time on Evans before the TT. It was clear though he had some regret, he said he thinks he could have won the tour if tactics that day played out differently. But since he lost 3 minutes to Sastre in the TT and 3.5 to Evans this is unrealistic. Even if Frank had attacked 1st, I doubt he would have gained over 2 minutes as Sastre did given the way he was going that day. But even if you give Frank 2 minutes there he still ends up 1.5 minutes down on Evans at the end. Don't think the inspiration of being in yellow for the TT will make up that delta. Frank seemed mostly at peace with the whole thing based on what he said and his demeanor, since the team won.
 
i watched this stage a couple weeks ago and in context it felt like CSC played perfect tactics. they sent their lower GC guy on an all-out attack and had Frank and Andy follow every attack from the following group and discourage everyone from working. the two of them did an amazing job to help Sastre actually. Frank was not going to win that Tour, based on how bad his TT was he would have needed to put 3 minutes into Cadel to win.
 
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i watched this stage a couple weeks ago and in context it felt like CSC played perfect tactics. they sent their lower GC guy on an all-out attack and had Frank and Andy follow every attack from the following group and discourage everyone from working. the two of them did an amazing job to help Sastre actually. Frank was not going to win that Tour, based on how bad his TT was he would have needed to put 3 minutes into Cadel to win.
Cadel learned his lesson that day and in 2011 he just put his head down and did the necessary work in a similar situation on the Galibier instead of being bothered by Fränk's presence.
 
Evans was also simply a lot stronger in 2011.
No, he just rode far, far smarter and more composed and handled the media far better as well. Evans in his 2007 form with his 2011 racing brain and peloton maneuvering ability wins that TDF by another 30 - 60 seconds.

Evans lost a lot of energy from the second week crash, nerves causing him to defend yellow for too long and inefficient riding.
 
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Prior to the Alpe d'Huez stage Frank lead Evans by 8 seconds and Sastre by 49seconds. With a 53k TT to follow.

Sastre was a decent TT rider. Frank was terrible. Also Sastre was a better aggressive climber than Frank. If they had focused on Frank, Evans would have answered. CSC couldn't win with Frank.
 
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I think Fränk himself knew that they had to try something like that to beat Cadel.
He seems to be ok with it and overall he seems to be more likeable than Andy (what a waste of talent, imagine if he had the mentality of someone like Nibali....)
 
That stage is actually one of the first cycling races I have a very clear memory of. There was quite a lot of hype in Austria at the time due to Kohls...surprisingly good performance.
Anyway, looking back it's still very strange how that CSC move ended up working. When it comes to mountain stages times are often measured in minutes so this is easy to forget but a single rider finishing over 2 minutes in front of 2nd place, gaining all that advantage only on the final climb and not with a long range attack, is actually such a huge outlier. Getting even one minute happens so rarely (for example Froome, as famous as he is for absolutely bossing mtf's, has never done that) yet in a Tour where time gaps were absolutely minimal and everyone seemed very evenly matched Sastre somehow pulled that out of his hat. These days after Armstrong and before a new clear man to beat had emerged (or wasn't allowed to participate) were really strange.
 
That stage is actually one of the first cycling races I have a very clear memory of. There was quite a lot of hype in Austria at the time due to Kohls...surprisingly good performance.
Anyway, looking back it's still very strange how that CSC move ended up working. When it comes to mountain stages times are often measured in minutes so this is easy to forget but a single rider finishing over 2 minutes in front of 2nd place, gaining all that advantage only on the final climb and not with a long range attack, is actually such a huge outlier. Getting even one minute happens so rarely (for example Froome, as famous as he is for absolutely bossing mtf's, has never done that) yet in a Tour where time gaps were absolutely minimal and everyone seemed very evenly matched Sastre somehow pulled that out of his hat. These days after Armstrong and before a new clear man to beat had emerged (or wasn't allowed to participate) were really strange.
And Evans ended up in a similar situation in the 2009 Dauphine Mont Ventoux stage.
 
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No, he just rode far, far smarter and more composed and handled the media far better as well. Evans in his 2007 form with his 2011 racing brain and peloton maneuvering ability wins that TDF by another 30 - 60 seconds.

Evans lost a lot of energy from the second week crash, nerves causing him to defend yellow for too long and inefficient riding.
Kind of crazy Evans could have been a 3 times TDF champion...
 
Reactions: 42x16ss
No, he just rode far, far smarter and more composed and handled the media far better as well. Evans in his 2007 form with his 2011 racing brain and peloton maneuvering ability wins that TDF by another 30 - 60 seconds.

Evans lost a lot of energy from the second week crash, nerves causing him to defend yellow for too long and inefficient riding.
I said compared to 2008. Not sure about the climbing in 2007, but Rasmussen, Contador were off the charts that Tour.

2011, though, all time low climbing level maybe. I think even the Izoard Schleck attack isn't even a super fast time.
 

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