Blazin' Saddles

Splitsville for Schlecks?

Frank Schleck told Eurosport this week that he misses his brother Andy desperately, and that the pair talk on Skype both before and after he rides each stage on the Giro.

Unfortunately, Saddles doesn't have the means to listen in to the Schlecks' Skype chats, but he does have many media pals, so hacking into the brothers' recent voice messages.

Here is what Saddles might have managed to overhear (you know, if he had hacked the Schlecks' phones, which he emphatically hasn't)...

"Hi Andy, it's your brother Frank. I tried calling you on Skype earlier but there was no answer. So I thought I'd leave you a quick message. Hope all is well and you're eating your vegetables as well as all that chicken. We have to beef you up a little before the Tour.

"I miss you Andy. It's not the same riding a bike without you looking back at me over your shoulder. I hate not knowing exactly what you're up to. I follow you on Twitter, but it's not a shade on following you up Alpe d'Huez.

"It's weird riding a Grand Tour without you, Andy. First I was sharing a room with Jan Bakelants, but he had smelly feet so I asked Kim Andersen for a change. I then got Daniele Bennati, which was better, but he spent a lot of time in the bathroom, and he didn't like me listening to Scorpions and Meat Loaf.

"Daniele left the race yesterday so I had to spend last night alone, which was pretty scary. I tried playing the dolphin CD you gave me for Christmas but I still felt empty. I just wished I was back home in Luxembourg in our bunk beds — or riding through a French meadow side by side.

"The race itself is going well. I didn't actually lose too much time in the time trials and so I'm doing well in the GC. I really think second place in Milan is a possibility, which is great don't you think?

"You know how scared I was about those stages in Denmark — all that wind and road furniture. It was like when they decided to put cobbles at the start of the Tour de France a couple of years ago — just not fair.

"But I survived, and I'm slowly learning how to ride on my own. Those pre-recorded messages you did for me are ace though. Kim has programmed it so he can play them to me through the radio earpiece.

"When I'm struggling, he can press a button and I can hear your voice — it really helps. I particularly like the one when you say that you're just around the corner — it makes me ride extra quick to get round that corner. And then to compensate for the disappointment that I usually get when I go round the corner and don't see you, Kim usually beams in the one about mum's plum tart.

"Talking of food, the other day we had pizza and I made a smiley face out of the olives on top. It reminded me of you. I even put on extra cheese so it looked like a yellow jersey. Ha, do you remember the pizzas we used to have with Bjarne? So much bacon!

"I was feeling a bit lonely after dinner so I called Bjarne, but he won't talk to me anymore. Nygaard's the same — he just goes on about barbecues and something called 'Neighbours'.  If you were here we could have gone bowling or fishing. That would have been nice.

"Enough of my news — how are you? Have you put on a bit of weight? Once you do, then you can do the wind tunnel training without being blown over. And then you can work on your time trialling ahead of the Tour.

"What's the latest from Alberto? I hope he's not too depressed. It's weird riding a Grand Tour without him too. We're going to need some new tactics this July.

"Okay, I better go — I promised Jesse that we'd watch Flight of the Conchords together. He's my new room-mate. His voice makes me laugh.

"Make sure you record me a new message for Kim to play me in the mountains — something like "No guts, no glory, Frank".

"Sorry if I sounded a bit down today. I'm doing okay, don't worry about me. I've got your picture on my wall. It reminds me that it's not so bad, it's not so bad at all.

"Anyways, I hope you get this man, hit me back, just to chat, truly yours, your brotherly plank, this is Frank."

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"Dear Andy, you still haven't called or texted. I hope you have a chance. I'm not mad. It's just your number one fan wants to hear from you. It's been two days without any news.

"You have to call me bro, I'll propel away your biggest foe. Sincerely yours, Frank. P.S. we should be together too."

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"Dear Frank, I meant to call you sooner but I've been busy training with Jakob and hanging out with Johan. He says he has big plans for us in the Tour. When I say 'us', I mean me and Jakob. I'm not sure there's going to be much more 'me and you' in this team as long as Johan's in control.

"I hope you get this message in time for the stage to Assisi. Please don't be mad and hurt yourself. I think you'll be doing just fine if you relax a little. I'm glad I inspire you, but Frank, why are you so sad? Try to understand, that I do want you as a brother and a fan — but what's this stuff about us meant to be together?

"Johan's right — I think it's time we spend a bit less time joined at the hip. Particularly during races. Sorry, got to go — Jakob's cooking eggs and then we're going to the cinema."