- Frank and Andy Schleck are ready to leave the team they've ridden on for most of their careers.
- Frank Schleck of Luxembourg (L) and brother Andy adjust their helmets on July 1, 2010 in Ridderkerk, outside Rotterdam. The 97th edition of the Tour de France cycling race will start in two days in Rotterdam, the biggest European port. AFP PHOTO / PASCAL PAVANI
Amid speculation that Tour de France winner Alberto Contador is poised to join the Saxo Bank team for 2011, brothers Andy and Fränk Schleck have confirmed that they will be leaving to join a new squad based in their native Luxembourg.
In an interview with the daily newspaper Le Quotidien, Tour de France runner-up Andy Schleck said that while plans for the new team are incomplete, he and his 30-year-old brother will not extend their existing contracts with the team run by Bjarne Riis.
“Even if we don’t yet know what our future holds, it is certain, it’s official that we are no longer riding for Bjarne next year,” the 25-year-old Andy Schleck told the paper.
Andy Schleck has spent five years and Fränk eight alongside Riis, who had, in advance of the Tour de France, already conceded that the brothers were unlikely to remain on the team.
“I cannot imagine a new Luxembourg team without Frank and Andy Schleck on it,” Riis said.
Meanwhile, Andy Schleck acknowledged that Riis was actively courting Contador, but made it clear that the two wouldn’t be riding on the same team.
Earlier this week, Contador had rejected his Astana team’s demand that he make a commitment to extend his contract, which is set to expire at season’s end. With the departure of the Schlecks, Riis has turned is focus on the only rider who has consistently beaten the brothers, finishing ahead of Andy Schleck for the past two editions of the Tour.
While his team’s primary financial support from Saxo Bank will end at the end of 2010, Riis has already confirmed a renewed and increased commitment from co-sponsor Sungard and has said another company is poised to step in as the team’s title sponsor for the next two years.