Veteran Fränk Schleck has penned a two-year contract extension with Trek Factory Racing, but there is no word yet on whether his younger brother, Andy, will remain with the team.
Team officials said Tuesday the elder of the Schleck brothers will remain with the team for two more seasons, serving as a team captain for stage races and the hilly classics.
There is growing speculation that Andy, who suffered a career-threatening knee injury during a crash in stage 3 at the Tour de France, will not remain with the team.
On Tuesday, Trek officials would only confirm that Fränk will remain, with no mention of Andy. The pair has raced together on the same team since Andy turned pro in 2005, and left CSC in 2011 to help found Leopard-Trek, which has since morphed into Trek Factory Racing. In 2011, they became the first brothers to finish together on the Tour de France podium, riding to second and third overall behind Cadel Evans (BMC Racing).
“Fränk is a hard-working athlete, who at times can be very hard on himself,” said Trek general manager Luca Guercilena in a team release. “He’s been very eager to prove himself in the races that he loves. A big victory is missing, but we know how much effort he puts into his training and racing.”
Schleck, 34, returned to the World Tour and Trek this season following his controversial case for testing positive for xipamide during the 2012 Tour. He served a reduced, one-year ban after Luxembourg authorities ruled that he had not intentionally taken the banned substance. Despite being able to compete in 2013, former Leopard-Trek owner Flavio Becca refused to allow him to race.
Schleck made the most of his 2014 season, riding to 12th overall at the Tour, and winning the Luxembourg national title.
“I’ve had a rough year and a half, and Trek has always stood behind me during this time,” Schleck said in a team release. “My performance this season was good and steady, and I am proud of my 12th place in the Tour. I hope to continue working hard and hopefully get some nice results for the team and myself.”
The elder Schleck’s discipline and hard work didn’t go unnoticed by Trek management, something that is reportedly in sharp contrast to his younger brother, Andy, who is renowned to not take his training as seriously as some of his peers.
Andy’s once-brilliant career has gone off the rails since his debilitating crash at the 2012 Critérium du Dauphiné, which left him with a fractured sacrum. Schleck struggled with pain and a largely unsung 2013 season, and eventually rode himself back into decent shape for 2014, only to crash out at the Tour. He has not raced since, and it’s unsure if he will continue with Trek. Though he’s just 29, his future is an unknown.
The team signed Belkin rider Bauke Mollema as a new GC leader for the grand tours for the coming years, suggesting that the team is turning the page on the Schleck era.
The team also signed neo-pro Riccardo Zoidl, the Austrian national champion, to a contract extension.