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Andy Schleck rules himself out of world championships

Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) has opted not to ride the world road race championships in Australia. He has instead decided to make the Tour of Lombardy his primary late season objective.

The Luxembourg Cycling Federation (FSCL) yesterday released a brief statement announcing the decision. “Andy Schleck has just informed the FSCL that he has withdrawn from this year’s world championships and that he aims to round off his season after the Vuelta with a good performance at the Tour of Lombardy.”

Schleck will start the Vuelta a España on Saturday with the stated intention of supporting his brother Fränk’s ambitions of overall victory. In 2009, he was forced to abandon the Spanish race on stage 8 with stomach cramps.

The Tour de France runner-up’s withdrawal from the Worlds means that Luxembourg may struggle to fill its allocation of four riders at the event. Fränk Schleck has yet to announce his intentions, but with just a two-week gap to recover between the Vuelta and a world championship on the other side of the globe, his participation may also be in doubt. Kim Kirchen (Katusha) is also ruled out as he has not returned to racing since suffering a cardiac arrest at the Tour de Suisse in June.

Luxembourg newspaper Le Quotidien reports that Laurent Didier (Saxo Bank) is also a doubtful participant, and that thus far Ben Gastauer (Ag2r) is the only top-level Luxembourg rider to confirm his desire to travel to Melbourne for the race.

Meanwhile, Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas-Doimo) has also announced that he will not take part in the Worlds as he wishes to focus his energies on the Vuelta a España, according to AFP.

“I would not be well prepared for these championships because it would be a problem acclimatising after the Vuelta,” said Kreuziger, who will ride for Astana next season. The Czech Republic will be represented instead by national champion Petr Bencik and Leopold Konig (both PSK Whirlpool-Author) in the road race, which takes place on October 3.

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Barry Ryan

Barry Ryan is European Editor at Cyclingnews. He has covered professional cycling since 2010, reporting from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and events from Argentina to Japan. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Procycling and Cycling Plus. He is the author of The Ascent: Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation (opens in new tab), published by Gill Books.