Andy Schleck has confirmed that he and brother Fränk are definitely leaving Team Saxo Bank at the end of this season, a move that increases the certainty of Alberto Contador joining Bjarne Riis’s ProTour outfit, which will be sponsored by IT services firm SunGard, already a co-sponsor, and another as yet unnamed backer from next year.
Asked by the Luxembourg newspaper Le Quotidien what he thought about the prospect, reported in recent days, of Contador, who beat him to the maillot jaune by just 39 seconds, joining Riis next season, Schleck said: “It promises great things for next season, although even if we don’t yet know what the future holds for us, it’s certain, it’s official, that we won’t be with Bjarne next season.
Schleck was speaking before the Gala Tour de France criterium in his native Luxembourg, which unsurprisingly, the 25-year-old, sporting the white jersey that he won in the Tour as best young rider for a record equalling third and final time, won at a canter. Asked if he’d like to come back the following year in the yellow jersey, he replied, “Of course!”
Older brother Fränk, meanwhile, who crashed out of the Tour after breaking his shoulder on the cobbles during Stage 3, told the newspaper that he regretted not having been able to support his sibling during the remainder of the race and said he believed that had he been able to do so, Andy may have won the overall title.
He also confirmed that he will return to racing next month with the Tour du Limousin, ahead of both he and his brother participating in the Vuelta.
In June, news broke that the Schleck brothers had apparently been involved in discussions with Brian Nygaard, former press officer to Riis at CSC and Saxo Bank, regarding a Luxembourg-based ProTour outfit he is said to be putting together.
At the time, Riis acknowledged that it was difficult to envisage such a team being formed without the presence of the Schleck brothers, both of whose contracts expire at the end of this season.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.