Paris-Nice 2014: stage eight – five observations

Carlos Betancur seals biggest career win as the young and French star

Since returning from his doping ban, Frank Schleck has steadily regained his form following three steady, albeit unspectacular, performances so far this season. The Luxembourg rider instigated a late attack alongside Simon Spilak (Katusha) to end his Paris-Nice with another encouraging display, finishing sixth on the stage and 34th overall, five and a half minutes behind Carlos Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale). His attacking nature also ensured he fifth in the mountains classification and he was no stranger to the leading groups even if, ultimately, he could not quite stay in contention overall – not helped by being brought down by the same crash which cost Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) so dearly.

Frank Schleck may have to step up to lead Trek Factory Racing as brother Andy continues to struggle (pic: Sirotti)

So what now? Well contrast his performances with those of his younger brother Andy, whose miserable race finished with him almost 42 minutes off the pace overall. Schleck the younger struggled on most stages, losing significant time on each stage and rarely staying in touch with the bunch. If a Schleck is to lead Trek Factory Racing this season you feel it will be the elder brother who fulfils the role going forward. However, compatriot Bob Jungels proved there is far more to the team than just the famous brothers. Just 21, he earned a second place on stage five and finished 18th overall. A two-time Luxembourg national champion already, he is certainly the man to watch.

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