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UPDATED Andy Schleck, O'Grady removed from Vuelta

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Tour de France runner up Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank).

Tour de France runner up Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank). (Image credit: Bert Geerts/
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Stuard O'Grady (Saxo Bank)

Stuard O'Grady (Saxo Bank) (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)

Bjarne Riis has removed Andy Schleck and Stuart O'Grady from the Vuelta a Espana after the pair violated team rules by drinking alcohol after dinner.

Andy Schleck confirmed the news to Cyclingnews, releasing a statement while on his way home:

"I acknowledge that I have broken a rule on the team by going out for a drink after dinner and for that reason Bjarne has decided to send myself and Stuart O’Grady home.

"I’m responsible for my actions and even though I think it is too harsh a decision, I respect that Bjarne is the boss and he needs to do what he thinks is the best.

"I was getting back into shape and I would really have liked to stay at the Vuelta and help Frank and the rest of Team Saxo Bank."

Neither Andy Schleck nor O'Grady was at the start of the tenth stage of the Vuelta a Espana on Tuesday in Tarragona.

Schleck, who finished second in this year's Tour de France, was riding in support of his elder brother, Fränk, who is currently in 13th place, 1:47 down. The younger Schleck had also hoped to do well himself, until losing 14 minutes on the third stage. He continued to lose time and at the end of stage nine was in 77th place, at 37:16.

It is the second year in a row that Andy Schleck has left the Vuelta early. In 2009 he dropped out of the ninth stage, suffering from stomach cramps.

Both Schleck brothers are leaving the Danish team at the end of this season, to join a new Luxembourg team being organised by Brian Nygaard and Kim Andersen. O'Grady is also leaving Saxo Bank and is said to be joining the new team.