Schleck a non-finisher in first race in four months, but confident for Beijing
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Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Schleck a non-finisher in first race in four months, but confident for Beijing

by VeloNation Press at 12:33 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Injury
 
“My real comeback will be next year when I will be in good shape”

Andy SchleckAndy Schleck finally made his return to racing today, but while he didn’t finish the Binche-Tournai-Binche Memorial Frank Vandenbroucke, he was upbeat about things afterwards and felt he was on track for a respectable showing in China next week.

“It was hard, but I am very happy to be back in the peloton,” he said, speaking of what was his first race in almost four months. “It was a very nice feeling to pin on my race number this morning.

“It was not the ideal race for me to come back in the peloton – flat, fast, rain, wind, almost a Flanders Classic – but I don’t regret it. It was a nice feeling to see the people waiting and cheering for me.”

The RadioShack Nissan rider crashed in the time trial in the Critérium du Dauphiné in June, suffering a fractured sacrum. He hoped to return for the Tour, but was unable to do so. He was subsequently forced to postpone his comeback on several occasions, missing the Olympic Games, the Vuelta a España, the USA Pro Cycling Challenge and the GP Fourmies.

In that light, withdrawing approximately 130 kilometres into today’s event is not something which stresses him or the team unduly.

“I saw a really motivated Andy, which makes me happy,” said directeur sportif Dirk Demol. “He enjoyed being back but it was logical that he did not finish this race.”

Schleck reasons that he can expect to need time to sharpen up, particularly against riders who have been racing all season. “These past few weeks I did a lot of training in Luxembourg and I was ready to start again. Here in Binche I managed to stay in the peloton – which was, due to the speed, one long line rather than a peloton. I stopped before the local laps as it was enough for me.”

He will fly this week to the Tour of Beijing and seems keen to get racing there. “I feel confident to start next week in China. The weather over there will be better anyway and the roads as well,” he said, adding, “I really look forward to it.”

Because he’s had to deal with a painful injury which still troubles him at times, he emphasises that his performances today and next week have no bearing on how he says he will be going in 2013. As previously stated, he will continue training from this point on, passing over the end of season break which many riders take now.

“My pelvis still hurts sometimes but I can ride. To be clear: that inconvenience is not the reason why I stopped today,” he said.

“Please don’t call this my comeback. My real comeback will be next year when I will be in good shape at the start of ‘my’ races. I am motivated!”

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