Frank Schleck Abandons 2009 Vuelta a Espana
Frank Schleck has abandoned the 2009 Vuelta a Espana because of the knee problems that he has been suffering from most of the 2009 season.
"The problem actually began back in the Basque Country Tour in April where I was wondering about how the classics would turn out from my part. But I did OK through the spring but I could tell that my knee was not feeling as it should be," Frank Schleck told Roadcycling.com.
Schleck added that "after my break from racing everything went really well, although the problem still appeared now and then. After the Tour of Luxembourg and the Tour de Suisse the pain returned and I must admit that I had some really tough days during the Tour where most days darkened because of the knee. Fortunately, I managed to finish the race and make some results with the team which I am enormously proud of. But now it has come to a point where an operation is the only way out, so I can be ready again for the next season. I am sorry that this season ends like this but after all, I have been in progress continuously since February and it makes it worth while finishing the season now. The most important thing is that after surgery I can compete without pain when the new season starts.”
Frank Schleck claimed his first victory of the season in the queen stage of the 2009 Tour of California. He subsequently finished second in Paris-Nice, won the Tour of Luxembourg, won the mountainous 17th stage of the Tour de France and finished fifth overall.
According to Team Saxo Bank spokesmen the knee surgery will take place on Friday at Herentals Clinic in Belgium where Dr. Toon Claes be performing the operation. The surgery is intended to remove some problematic tissue around the knee cap and according to doctors Fränk Schleck will be back on the bike after four weeks and without suffering permanent damage.
"Frank has had big problems with his knee, and the decision to abandon the Vuelta to have surgery is the only right thing to do. He has now been riding with pain since April and the following year and in principle the rest of his career in mind we have to take the situation seriously. Fortunately, he will soon be on the operating table and although he stands in front of a long break he can easily make up for the new season. He is obviously not happy to drop out of the Vuelta and miss the World Cup and Lombardy, where he could have done really well he can, however look back on a great season and look forward to next year’s challenges without having to endure the pain”, commented Team Saxo Bank sports director Kim Andersen.
Fränk Schleck's brother Andy Schleck abandoned the 2009 Vuelta earlier this month.
Watch 2009 Vuelta video highlights in our video section at www.roadcycling.com/video .