“I had to renounce on being a part of the Tour de France this year because of my injury I had,” Schleck said during the pre-race press conference Sunday in Logan. “I ripped up the interior tendon in my knee and I hoped to be back quicker, but in Tour de Suisse I realized it’s not going to get any better. So together with the team we decided not to do the Tour.”
Schleck initially injured his right knee in a crash at Liège-Bastogne-Liège at the end of April. He raced next at the Tour of Norway in May, followed by the one-day GP du canton d’Argovie in June. He pulled out of the Tour de Suisse ahead of the closing time trial, and then an MRI showed inflammation to the medial collateral ligament had not yet healed.
“Of course when we made the decision it was a hard decision for me not being able to do the Tour,” he said. “Then I sat down with my Dad, with Kim Anderson and the team and we talked about what’s next.
“I wanted to do the Vuelta, and I decided to sacrifice spending time with the family and going first to a training camp in the Alps for five days, then five days back to sea level, and then heading out to Park City.”
Schleck has been in Park City for the past 10 days, training at altitude and reconoittering some of the climbs he’ll face later in the week.
“It was amazing nice and really, really beautiful and we had some good training at altitude to get ready for the preparation for the Vuelta,” he said. “So the main goal is preparation for the Vuelta, but I think it will suit nicely in the training.”
Schleck also pointed out that Horner won the Vuelta in 2013 following his first ride at the Tour of Utah as he was recovering from an early season knee injury. Schleck joked that he wanted to follow his former RadioShack teammate’s example.
“As I mentioned [at the team presentation], Chris won the Vuelta this way two years ago, so I just wanted to stick with that.”