Fränk Schleck seeking new contract after RadioShack Leopard indicates his time on team is over
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Thursday, July 04, 2013

Fränk Schleck seeking new contract after RadioShack Leopard indicates his time on team is over

by Shane Stokes at 12:56 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Luxembourg rider won’t be taken back on after his suspension ends this month

Frank SchleckThe question about whether or not Fränk Schleck will return to the RadioShack Leopard team when his doping ban ends in ten days’ time has finally been answered by the team, which has announced that he must look elsewhere for a ride.

“With the end of Fränk Schleck's suspension approaching, Leopard and its partners have assessed the situation in view of a possible renewal of the collaboration with Fränk Schleck,” the Luxembourg squad announced several minutes ago. “Having finalized this assessment in a broad and objective way, Leopard has decided to not renew the collaboration between Fränk Schleck and the Radioshack Leopard Trek cycling team.”

It concluded the brief release by saying that it wished him ‘a successful continuation of his career.’

The eldest of the two Schleck brothers tested positive for the banned diuretic Xipamide during last year’s Tour de France. The substance was detected following an in-competition test on July 14, following the 13th stage of the Tour de France. The result of that test was announced on July 17th, and he immediately withdraw from the race.

Initially suggesting that he could have been sabotaged by a third party, he denied knowingly consuming anything containing Xipamide.

In its ruling announced on January 30th, Luxembourg anti-doping agency ALAD concluded that Schleck had not ingested the substance intentionally. It also said that hair analyses carried out didn’t show any evidence of doping, and that his biological passport was not suspicious.

He was given a reduced one year ban, as permitted by WADA rules regarding specified substances, and is eligible to return to competition in ten days’ time.

Initially stating he would consider an appeal, seeking a shorter ban, he ultimately decided not to do that. The UCI and WADA could have contested the sentence as well, seeking an increase, but did not appeal.

It is unclear if he has other options for his return.

Schleck’s brother Andy has not yet commented on the matter. He has raced with Fränk for the entirety of his professional career, and often said that he wouldn’t consider being on a different team to him.

He has been in poor form since the 2011 Tour de France, and last year suffered a fracture to his pelvis when he crashed in the pre-Tour Critérium du Dauphiné.

It remains to be seen if he will head elsewhere with his brother, or if he will continue with the current RadioShack Leopard structure when it is taken over by Trek next season.

Today’s announcement relates to the current team setup, and doesn’t preclude Frank Schleck from being signed by the new team management once ownership shifts to Trek at the end of this year.

The sole rider who has been confirmed as continuing thus far is Fabian Cancellara. The team has inked a new three year deal with him. It was rumoured that the Schlecks would both stay, but only if they agreed to a significant pay cut.

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