Andy Schleck out of Volta a Catalunya
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Andy Schleck out of Volta a Catalunya

by Conal Andrews at 9:31 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

Andy Schleck’s nightmarish start to the 2010 season continues, with the Luxembourg rider deciding not to take the start of today’s second stage of the Volta a Catalunya.

Schleck said he was having problems with his stomach which forced him to abandon the event. He was 131st in yesterday’s prologue, conceding 27 seconds to the winner Paul Voss. He had been suffering with a cold before the race, and if there is any bright side to his exit, it's that it didn't have anything to due with his troublesome knee.

Today’s news is makes a further setback to a rider who has been hampered by injury ever since he was hit by a car in December. He made his season debut in the Giro del Friuli on March 3rd, then recently completed Tirreno-Adriatico without any major problems. He was 83rd overall in the race, though, and clearly needed more competition in order to build form.

Schleck said before the Volta a Catalunya that he felt he was back on schedule. “I know we did not take home any big results from Tirreno but that was never my objective. For me it was all about getting through the race without feeling any pain; I was actually feeling stronger every day,” he said. “It was a very tough course with numerous steep climbs and pulling through without knee problems was proof to me that I am right back on track.

Catalunya was supposed to help him build form prior to his first major season objectives. “According to the original plan I was not going to do the Vuelta a Catalunya but after talking to Bjarne (Riis) and Kim (Andersen) we agreed that the race contains a good amount of race kilometres. It will improve my preparations for the Ardennes Classics later on. I feel I am at the same level now as last year at this time and I am certain that I will be able to defend my title in Liege-Bastogne-Liege.”

Unfortunately, today’s withdrawal puts those plans into disarray. Even if he is able to line out at the start of the big Classic, the fact that it is over one month away raises doubts about whether he can be fit enough to win again.

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