Knee injury sidelines Schleck from the Tour de France and Luxembourg Nationals
Fränk Schleck will not participate in this year’s Tour de France in July or the Luxembourg road championships this Sunday, as originally planned, because of a chronic injury in his right knee, Trek Factory Racing announced on Tuesday.
Schleck first injured his right knee in a crash at Liège-Bastogne-Liège at the end of April. He next raced at the Tour of Norway in May followed by the one-day GP du canton d’Argovie in June, but then pulled out of the Tour de Suisse ahead of the closing time trial in Bern on Sunday.
An MRI taken in Basel on Monday revealed inflammation to the medial collateral ligament along with a bone injury that has not healed yet.
“This is a big disappointment for me, of course, but it had been in the air for a while now,” said the Luxembourg road race champion. “The pain never really lessened and the only way to let it heal would have been to take complete rest. It was a catch-22: if I wanted to make the Tour team, I had to rest. I needed to take a break in the preparation to let the knee heal. But if I wanted to be fit for the Tour, I needed to train hard.
“The knee wasn’t getting any better during the Tour de Suisse, despite daily treatments and all of us hoping for a miracle. We took the decision together and I think it’s correct. I can’t push it for 21 days straight and hope to make it to Paris. What I need is rest.”
Schleck said that he will take at least two weeks off the bike. The team noted that he may target the Vuelta a España.
Cancellara to skip Switzerland time trial championships to focus on road race
Trek Factory Racing's Fabian Cancellara has opted not to try and defend his Swiss national time trial title in Lausanne on Wednesday in order to focus on Sunday's road race instead, according to a team press release on Tuesday. Cancellara has won the time trial title nine times between 2002 and 2014, and has won the road championships twice.
The team noted in their press release that Cancellara was tired from the recent Tour de Suisse but will participate in the Swiss national road race on Sunday in Steinmaur near Zurich.
Confusion over Team Sky's Tour de France long-list
Team Sky caused some excitement on Twitter when they inadvertently posted what looked like a long-list for the Tour de France. A list of 11 riders appeared on their website under Tour de France on their race tab earlier on Tuesday but it was removed when it was pointed out to the team. Sky asserted that they don’t produce long-lists and their nine-man squad would be announced on Monday.
The 11 riders named were: Danny Pate, Mikel Nieve, Richie Porte, Sergio Henao, Peter Kennaugh, Wout Poels, Ian Stannard, Leopold König, Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome.
Irish pairing Nicolas Roche and Philip Deignan were both missing from the list as was the Austrian Bernard Eisel. A second list then appeared with only six riders before the team eventually removed it entirely.
Team Sky put the appearance of the rider’s names down to an error made by a third party.
Bora-Argon 18 to support Bennett and Nerz at the Tour de France
Bora-Argon 18 has announced its nine-man roster, plus two reserve riders, that will participate in the upcoming Tour de France. The team was built around supporting Sam Bennett in the sprints and Dominik Nerz for the overall classification.
"We currently see a very high performance level of the entire team,” said the team’s manager Ralph Denk. “Accordingly, it was a close decision to name the final places in the Tour squad. Ultimately, we decided for an experienced team that supports our dual leadership with Sam Bennett and Dominik Nerz at its best. For this year's profile of the Tour de France, we appointed a good balance of classics specialists and climbers.
"We have proven in the past three years, what we are capable of at Grand Tours thanks to a perfect team performance and very high motivation: attacks until the last kilometer, podiums, stage wins and top placings in the GC. This year, we want to use the biggest event in our sport again to convince with results – at best, of course, with a stage win.”
Bennett has had a strong season with a stage win at the Tour of Qatar and two stage wins at the Bayern Rundfahrt, where be briefly led the overall race. He was also second at the Garmin Velothon Berlin and third in a stage of Tirreno-Adriatico.
This year, Nerz won the time trial at the Giro del Trentino. However, in the past he has shown strengths as a GC rider with a ninth place at the Tour de Pologne last year, 14th overall at the Vuelta a España in 2013, and two stage podiums at the 2011 Vuelta.
Bora-Argon 18 for the Tour de France: Sam Bennett, Dominik Nerz, Jan Barta, Emanuel Buchmann, Zakkari Dempster, Bartosz Huzarski, Jose Mendes, Andreas Schillinger and Paul Voss. The team’s two reserve riders are Patrick Konrad and Cesare Benedetti.
Boonen, Terpstra, Štybar to Halle Ingooigem
Etixx-QuickStep will send a strong team to the one-day UCI 1.1 Halle Ingooigem, held on Wednesday in Belgium. The team will include a series of Belgian riders in Tom Boonen, Iljo Keisse, Stijn Vandenbergh, Gianni Meersman and Nikolas Maes in preparation for the Belgian road nationals held on Sunday.
“We are at the start with a strong team, with a few riders who just raced the European Games in Baku," said the team’s director Rik Van Slycke in a team press release. "On paper the parcours is not so difficult, but as usual the wind can play a role in the final. We have riders at the start able to be protagonists in every race situation, and our goal is to try and win the race. Due to the distance the race will be also an important last test before the road national championships on Sunday.”
Halle Ingooigem is a 198.8km race that include 104km point-to-point followed by five laps of a 18.9km circuit. The course includes hellingen in La Houppe, Kanarieberg, Kruijsberg, Hottondberg, Knokteberg, Tiegemberg, and Holstraat.
Etixx-QuickStep for Halle Ingooigem: Tom Boonen, Iljo Keisse, Stijn Vandenbergh, Gianni Meersman, Nikolas Maes, Niki Terpstra, Zdeněk Štybar and Carlos Verona.