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Fränk Schleck out of Vuelta and Worlds with knee surgery

Frank Schleck (Saxo Bank) on his first day in this year's Vuelta without brother Andy

Frank Schleck (Saxo Bank) on his first day in this year's Vuelta without brother Andy (Image credit: Sirotti)

Fränk Schleck of team Saxo Bank will abandon the Vuelta a España today and return home to Luxembourg for knee surgery. The surgery will delay his training and force him to miss the World Championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland, September 27.

Schleck, 29, was unexpectedly able to get an appointment with a surgeon Friday and decided to leave the Vuelta a España, according to newspaper Luxembourger Wort.

He was to lead Luxembourg World Championship's team and Giro di Lombardia, October 17. Saxo Bank Press Officer Brian Nygaard confirmed to Cyclingnews on Wednesday that Schleck would end his season in order to fully recover from the injury.

"He's definitely going to be off the bike for four weeks so that means the season is over for him, unfortunately," said Nygaard. "The most important thing is that it's not a serious problem in the sense that he gets the surgery and then he can start his rehab and get back on the bike again."

Schleck has suffered intermittent problems with his left knee since his crash in the Amstel Gold Race April 19. He suffered a concussion and medics required more time than normal put him into the ambulance. His knee hindered him in the Tour de France as well.

Despite the injury Schleck won stage the Le Grand-Bornand stage and finished fifth behind overall winner Alberto Contador.

"Fränk has delivered amazing results for Saxo Bank this season," said Nygaard. "He's been in pain on-and-off since the Tour of the Basque country and he's had very difficult moments during the major part of the season." said Nygaard."It's not been easy for him. Bike riders in general deal with a lot of pain and if you have additional pain on top of that it takes the fun out of it."

Luxembourg planned to have Schleck, his younger brother Andy and Columbia-HTC's Kim Kirchen lead its team at the Worlds. Both Andy Schleck and Kirchen have dropped out of the Vuelta with intestinal problems.

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