Schleck brothers fear ‘risky’ final descent

Tour de France contenders Frank and Andy Schleck have described the final descent of Wednesday’s 179km 17th stage to Pinerolo as “fatally dangerous”.

“The final descent from the Pramartino pass is ridiculous. It’s nothing but a track across a wood. The Pinerolo finish is ominous,” 2009 and 2010 Tour runner-up Andy told a news conference on Monday’s rest day.

“I rode down this hill three times in training and I already found it too risky. It is fatally dangerous. It if rains, several riders will again end up in hospital,” he added.

The short 8km drop looks set to eclipse the five climbs on the course, the most demanding being the first category ascent to the Italian ski resort of Sestriere 60km from the finish.

Luckily for the Luxembourg brothers — both of whom have a history of crashing in the wet — dry weather is predicted rain.

In Tuesday’s 16th stage to Gap, Andy Schleck lost more than a minute to other Tour contenders in the tricky Rochette descent and already complained to organisers about the course.

“What do the public want to see, a fair race or a race which ends up in hospital?” he asked.

The stage is also the only incursion of the Tour abroad in this edition. Pinerolo is famous for its fortress, in which the Man in the Iron mask was jailed in 1669. — Reuters

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