RadioShack Leopard team owners contest Frank Schleck’s claim that he didn’t know he would be dropped
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Saturday, July 06, 2013

RadioShack Leopard team owners contest Frank Schleck’s claim that he didn’t know he would be dropped

by VeloNation Press at 10:21 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Leopard SA states Luxembourg rider was fully aware he would need to look elsewhere

Frank SchleckResponding to Fränk Schleck’s recent criticism of the RadioShack Leopard decision regarding his future, plus his threats of legal action, the team owners have said that the rider was fully aware of the situation in advance of Thursday’s announcement.

“Leopard would like to clarify that Fränk Schleck nor his counsellors can be surprised over the decision taken by Leopard, as several meetings with Fränk Schleck have taken place between the date when the options to appeal the verdict expired and the present date,” stated Leopard SA said in a statement.

“The decision that has been conveyed to Fränk Schleck on Wednesday corresponds perfectly to the atmosphere of these meetings.”

Schleck tested positive for the banned diuretic Xipamide during last year’s Tour de France. The in competition test was carried out on July 14th, just after the end of stage thirteen of the race, with the result confirmed three days later. He immediately withdrew from the race.

Schleck denied knowingly consuming anything containing Xipamide. The Luxembourg anti-doping agency ALAD eventually agreed, concluding on January 30th that he had not ingested the substance. It also said that hair analyses carried out didn’t show any evidence of doping, and that his biological passport was not suspicious.

As a result, he was given a reduced one year ban, as permitted by WADA rules regarding specified substances. He is due to return to competition on July 14th, but appears not to have a team.

On Thursday RadioShack Leopard announced that he would have to look elsewhere. “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,” it stated then. “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.”

Speaking to Wort.lu after that announcement, Schleck gave the impression that this was all news to him. “I still don't understand this decision. Even with the best intentions but I must accept it. How is it that for eleven months I have been waiting and that ten days before my suspension expires, I am no longer part of the team?” he asked.

He indicated that he planned to fight the decision. “When the verdict was given, the judges agreed it was not a case of doping and that there was no desire on my part to improve my performance,” he said. “And now, I am being reproached for doping. I will leave it to my lawyers.”

Today’s Leopard SA announcement suggests that the team owners will likely contest any such action.

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