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Ok, better say it right away - yep, we do still have enough riders for the coming weeks, so no, no need for you to start training and apply for a job!
Fans have been really worried and expressed their concern about the injuries and fractures the team has suffered since the start of the season. We did have a few unexpected changes to make to our line-up for the coming races, but no more than other teams, really. Last year, Team CSC had a fluent run with very few unfortunate crashes happening, but in general, during the first races on the programme there's always a nervousness to be felt within the peloton.
At times like this, the team spirit is more important than during the injury-free periods. And the team is really sticking together, with the riders lifting each other's spirit when necessary. Christian, Bobby, Stuey, Lars, Matti and Andy are supported and remain positive; they're working hard on their rehab and with the stimulation they receive from the rest of the team, I'm convinced they'll be back in the thick of things in a matter of weeks. Lars and Bobby will come back already in Criterium International. Christian's collarbone is mended and he will be riding Route Adélie. Stuey and Matti's healing process will take a while longer.
Tirreno-Adriatico was very cold, and due to the weather less enjoyable for the riders, but it was good preparation for the coming classics. I was happy to see the guys' form improving daily. Fabian (Cancellara) winning the individual time-trial was proof that the training camps and different approach to the start of the season are starting to pay off at the targeted moment.
For Milan-San Remo, it would have been great to have Stuart there of course - judging from the way his form was going before the crash, I really believe he would have done an awesome result, and Lars Bak was missed as well. But in all, the team performed solidly in the first big classic. Frank Schleck rode a fantastic race. Frank himself was happy with his performance and Bjarne, who followed in the car with me, was pleased with how the team as a whole functioned.
Stuey came to see the team at the hotel after the race, which was really cool of him and we all agreed he's looking good. The ribs still occasionally remind him of what happened, and the arm is strapped in a brace, but his eyes look hungry and show his eagerness to get back to racing.
The team's lining-up for the coming races here in Belgium and we're also racing the Settimana Ciclista in Italy. Next weekend there's also the Criterium International in France. Look for us in the results on Cyclingnews and on the team's website: www.team-csc.com.
There's some fun stuff planned for CSC fans on the home pages, so do have a browse!
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Scott & Sabine Sunderland