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Schlecks open to Kirchen role at Leopard Trek

By:
Daniel Benson
Published:
January 17, 2011, 17:33 GMT,
Updated:
January 17, 2011, 17:35 GMT
Edition:
Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, January 17, 2011

Luxembourg rider without a contract since apparent heart attack

Fränk and Andy Schleck have both opened the door for Kim Kirchen to become part of the Leopard Trek team in the future. The brothers were speaking at the team's first training camp in Mallorca, Spain.

Kirchen (32) suffered an apparent heart attack in his hotel room during the Tour de Suisse last year. He was placed in an induced coma for several days and towards the end of 2010 had his contract terminated by his then team, Katusha. He has not raced since and has no contract for the 2011 season.

Although still not cleared to race by doctors, the Luxembourg rider has made noises about coming back to the sport if given the all clear.

"Right now Kim has to find out what happened. It's more important to know that he looks after himself and his family. We are a Luxembourg team and it's not a secret that if there are strong riders like Kirchen, of course we'll have an eye on them but there are things that have to be respected," said Fränk Schleck.

Along with the Schlecks, Kirchen helped to put Luxembourg cycling back on the map in recent years. He wore the yellow jersey in the 2008 Tour de France and finished in 7th place overall. If his racing career is at an end, Andy Schleck believes that a place in the team car could be a possibility. However he made it clear that all team hires were carried out by the team's management and not the riders.

"If you ask him he'd say he'd definitely like to be a cyclist but he doesn't know if it's possible yet,” Andy Schleck said. “We spoke with him before we came here and he said he doesn't have 100 per cent security that he can ride again. Some people doubt it and some believe he can come back as a cyclist but it's not up to me to judge.

“If he'd like to be a sports director of course there would be interest but it's not up to us to decide, that's why we have a management, but I would like to see him involved in the future somehow."

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