Schleck out of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco due to injury from crash
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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Schleck out of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco due to injury from crash

by Conal Andrews at 6:21 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling

Like his brother Andy, Tour contender Frank Schleck is having a somewhat convoluted journey as he prepares for the Ardennes Classics and his big target in July. The 29 year old has been forced to pull out of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco due to injuries he suffered in a crash yesterday.

Schleck confirmed he would not start today via his Twitter account. “The worse hangover ever multiplied by 10, but no drinks yesterday. That's how I feel folks, I’m not going to start today. Need rest.”

Team sports director Kim Andersen said that he did not suffer any fractures, but explained that the rider was badly cut up.

"It was supposed to be a peaceful stage but it did not turn out like that. A rider in front of him made a sudden move and Fränk lost his balance and was swept off the road and ended in a deep ditch,” he said yesterday evening. “Apparently, he has a wound in his neck that needs stitches but we are still waiting for the doctor’s judgement.”

The gravity of the incident is reflected in the time he lost in that last ten kilometres. Schleck came in 12 minutes and 39 seconds back and dropped from 17th to 99th overall. His priority now will be to ensure that he has fully recovered, and to get back to racing as soon as possible.

His brother Andy finished with the peloton and remains well-placed overall. He is just three seconds off the race leader Oscar Freire and if he has his climbing legs on, could fare well on today’s mountainous 160 kilometre stage to Aibar.

“King stage today!” he tweeted. “Hard climb up to the finish, 6 km with 11% avg. I feel ok so we c [see] where I end up.”

Before the race, team owner Bjarne Riis had spoken about what he expected from the two brothers. As Andy had experienced a disrupted schedule due to injuries and illness, he said that he didn’t want to put pressure on him.

"He'll have time to be there for the Tour de France, which is the season's big goal for him," the Dane told Politiken.

However he said that he expected more from Fränk, who has taken 13th in the Ruta del Sol, 16th in Paris-Nice and 22nd in the Volta a Catalunya, but had not yet challenged for a victory.

"It is my opinion that Fränk has worked well in the winter, and that he has seemed really well prepared. But now it is time for him to show it by achieving some results.”

Given Schleck’s injury, Riis is going to have to be a bit more patient. However he’ll still hope that the rider can still find strong form for Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Amstel Gold race, which he won in 2006.


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