Andy Schleck to ride USA Pro Cycling Challenge rather than Vuelta a España
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Friday, July 27, 2012

Andy Schleck to ride USA Pro Cycling Challenge rather than Vuelta a España

by VeloNation Press at 7:24 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
Canadian WorldTour races and Worlds also scheduled as part of racing return

andy SchleckHaving finished on the Tour de France podium in 2009, 2010 and 2011, Andy Schleck will now miss out on the chance to ride any Grand Tours at all this year, with his participation in the Vuelta a España being ruled out.

RadioShack Nissan general manager Johan Bruyneel has disclosed that Schleck will not ride the Spanish race, opting instead to return to competition in Colorado on August 20th.

“I'm happy to report that Andy Schleck is set to resume racing soon,” he wrote on his blog. “We've established a schedule for the remainder of the season where he should be in a good position to attain results - USA Pro Cycling Challenge, Canadian races, followed by Worlds and the two Chinese races.”

The Canadian races referred to are the WorldTour Grand Prix Québec and Montréal on September 7th and 9th. The world road race championships will be on a Ardennes Classics-style route on September 23rd, while the Chinese WorldTour events – the Tour of Beijing and the Tour of Hangzhou – take place in October.

Schleck has had a difficult year, showing a lack of form in the buildup to the Tour and then crashing hard in the Critérium du Dauphiné time trial. He was diagnosed with a fractured sacrum and missed the Tour de France as a result.

The Luxembourg rider initially hoped to return in the Vuelta, but just over two weeks ago said that his return to training had proved tougher than expected. A MRI scan showed that the fracture had not fully healed, although he was told he was able to start logging kilometres. His bike position was modified to try to take pressure off the affected area.

With former Tour rival Alberto Contador training well to be in peak condition for the Vuelta, it was clear that Schleck was unlikely to be competitive. The team has decided to sidestep the event completely now, with the USA Pro Cycling Challenge enabling him to return to racing two days later, and over one week rather than three.

The news will be disappointing for those who wanted to a Schleck vs. Contador match in the Vuelta, but encouraging for the rider’s US fans. Schleck competing in Colorado will sit well with Trek, given that the bike company is American.

Bruyneel gave some details of the Vuelta lineup. “As of today, our Vuelta team will be led by Maxime Monfort and Tiago Machado. Final selection of the roster has yet to be decided, but I can declare that we will show up in Pamplona with a very competitive squad,” he said. “I expect Contador, being the Champion he is, will show up in top form and more motivated than ever. We will aim for a top ten placing for Maxime and Tiago, stage wins and the team GC.”

He also commented on Chris Horner’s performance in the Tour de France, conceding that the rider’s original non-selection had been shown to be incorrect.

“I've always been one to admit mistakes and let me say - I was wrong to not include Chris Horner at first,” he said. “We had a bit of a miscommunication plus I had my doubts that he could perform at a high level given his back injury, but once the race started, Chris put all those concerns to rest.

“He was a loyal domestique and proved to me that he should have been one of our protective riders. Simply put, I'm glad to have Chris on my team.”

Bruyneel himself missed the race as a consequence of the ongoing USADA investigation into the Belgian’s role with the US Postal Service team.


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