Schleck and Bruyneel deny rift after Giro d'Italia withdrawal

Fränk Schleck is to return to hospital today for further medical examinations of the injuries resulting from his crash in the Giro d'Italia, which caused him to abandon the race. The RadioShack-Nissan rider denied that he had planned all along leave the race early, saying “It's not in my nature to give up.” In addition, he and team general manager Johan Bruyneel had a long discussion before he left Italy, and although both are disappointed, they will now work together for good results in the Tour de France.

Initial examinations on his shoulder showed “a hematoma in both my neck and the articulation that I dislocated. These are putting pressure on the nerve system and are the cause of the pain. Besides this, I still have the inflammation in the left leg, from overcompensating the painful shoulder with a cramped position on the bike.”

On the team's website, Schleck said that he was “sad to be home again. I was called there very last minute, but I let it sink down and I grew into the race. My third place on one of the first hard stages gave me confidence. If you check my results of the last years, you will see that I have rarely abandoned a race. It's not in my nature to give up. When I go to a race, I want to do well, and why not win?”

He continued to fight on after his crash, “until I couldn't do it anymore. I can tell you: abandoning is not easy.”

Schleck is now looking forward to the Tour de France, and confirmed that he would ride it. He said that certain of Bruyneel's statements had been misinterpreted, and that “Johan has not said that I'm not going to do the Tour."

Following Bruyneel's comments to the press after Schleck's withdrawal, the two had several “long and good talks, in which we decided to prioritize my recovery and then start building up again. He was very respectful and we talked about a lot of things. I left Italy with a really good feeling."

Also on the website, Bruyneel noted: “It wasn't easy to speak our minds, but in the end we are all professionals and we are here to win bike races. The facts are there: Fränk dropped out of the Giro and we need to reschedule his program.

“On the bright side, I hope he comes out of this Giro with a good condition, which he can use to build up his shape towards his next goals, starting with the Tour of Luxembourg and the Tour de Suisse. His build-up will of course start with a proper check-up of his shoulder, which is almost impossible during a big stage race, so that's the first thing on his program."

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