ANDY SCHLECK DISAPPOINTED BUT STILL OPTIMISTIC
Morzine – June 9 - Andy Schleck had to quit the Criterium du Dauphiné in Stage 6 as a consequence of the crash in the time trial of last Thursday. After 63 kilometers in the stage from Saint-Alban-Leysse to Morzine, pain prevented him from continuing.
“This is a big disappointment,” said Andy Schleck in Morzine. “While I was sitting in the car and I saw the other riders racing, I cracked mentally. As a bike rider you are mentally very strong but today it all went a bridge too far. Today, from the start, already in the first two hundred meters I had pain in the right leg and the lower back. It just got worse. I was never suffering like this in a race. I couldn’t use my right leg any more. There was no other option than to quit the race.”
Team Manager Johan Bruyneel added: “Two days after the crash is always the worst day. We could see it already at the breakfast table that Andy was really hurt. He also didn’t sleep very well. In the race he was suffering even when the peloton was going slowly. There was definitely a problem. His lower back problem can be a consequence of his bad position on the bike yesterday, the day after the crash. He really didn’t have the power to use the pedals. It was impossible for him to finish the stage.”
“It is just that bad luck is following me in the last months,” continued Andy Schleck. “I could not avoid it. Before this I had a left knee problem after my crash in a training camp in Sierra Nevada. It healed and then I improved. Even yesterday, after my crash I felt okay in the climbs. When I stayed in the saddle, my ribs hurt and I was suffering a lot but I came through the day. I was improving in the climbs and I was okay on the Grand Colombier.”
Andy Schleck returned to Luxemburg on Saturday night. On Sunday he will see an osteopath. Monday he will have an MRI scan done.
“I hope it is just muscular. Today it looked like a sciatic nerve causing the pain in the lower back and in my leg. I still believe that physically, without any injury, I am good. I am skinny. I just have bad luck. I’ve had so many injuries like I never had in the previous years. But I cannot lose morale as I have to focus on the Tour. I hope I can solve this as soon as possible.”
For RADIOSHACK NISSAN TREK it is also a serious disappointment. Johan Bruyneel: “After the crash we had hoped Andy could at least finish the Dauphiné because he needs the races and the efforts. It is not good what happened today. If you are dealing with problems and trying to catch up on form and then when you start to build up and see some improvements but you have a setback again through a crash or an injury, you never have a solid foundation. Andy’s situation is not a good sign for his Tour preparation, especially if you look now at the level of his competitors. For the moment there is not much we can do. It is a difficult situation.”
The original plans will still be followed. When the condition of Andy Schleck improves in the coming days, he will do his training camps in the Pyrenees and the Alps to get that final shape for the Tour.
“Of course I missed half of the stage of today and the stage of tomorrow,” concluded a disappointed but still optimistic Andy Schleck. “In bad things I always try to find the good things. The good thing is that I have done six stages. Some people will say ‘It is only three weeks till the Tour’ but you can also say it is ‘still’ three weeks to the start in Liège. You can do a lot in three weeks. That is my strength. I’ve shown it in the last years. I was not good in the Tour de Suisse but I was in the Tour de France. I won’t stop believing in it. I’ve worked hard for this.”