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Frank Schleck (Team Saxo Bank)
Knee problems can't keep Fränk from Monaco start
Despite a knee injury Fränk Schleck will start the Tour de France, according to Team Saxo Bank. The Luxembourger did not ride the last stage of the Tour de Suisse due to knee pains, which go back to a crash in April in the Amstel Gold Race.
"Fränk has some problems with his left knee, but nothing that should jeopardize his
start at the Tour," Saxo Bank spokesman Brian Nygaard told cyclingnews.
The 29-year-old had won the Tour of Luxembourg the previous week, but complained about problems with his left knee after the Tour de Suisse's opening prologue. He struggled in the opening stages, until he finished seventh in the fifth stage, before again falling back.
Schleck was particularly active in Saturday's eighth stage from Le Denier to Crans-Montana, in support of captain and eventual overall winner Fabian Cancellara. He led the first group in the last kilometres, eliminating numerous escape attempts. He finished tenth on the stage.
That was to be his final act in the race. “It hurt, even though it was a lot better than the day before," Schleck told the Luxembourger newspaper wort.lu. "I still can't say that it is 100 per cent, but I sure hope that I can ride without pain in the coming days."
The decision to pull out was made after consulting the team management. "This was just a precautionary measure, I simply don't want to take any unnecessary risk."
Schleck is next scheduled to ride the national time trial championship on Thursday and to defend his national road title on Sunday.