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Trek Factory Racing GC rider Frank Schleck’s preparations for the Tour de France have received a setback, with the Luxembourg rider not starting stage three of the Tour de Suisse. His team have confirmed that due to a concussion suffered in a crash on Sunday, that he will not be able to continue in the event, which was part of his preparation for the Tour.
“It was a hard call to make,” a Trek Factory Racing spokesman told CyclingTips. “Yesterday, he had an CT scan of his head and his neck, and x-ray scan of his hip. It was revealed that he has nothing broken, which is a good thing.
“This morning he went for a small ride, to see how his hip is doing. That hip is quite alright, but the most worrisome is the head. He has a clear concussion, and the doctor didn’t declare him fit to ride a WorldTour race.”
The Tour de Suisse is Schleck’s traditional pre-Tour race. He won the race in 2010 and finished second overall in 2012. He subsequently tested positive for a banned diuretic in the 2012 Tour de France.
On January 30th of last year the Luxembourg anti-doping agency ALAD concluded that Schleck had not ingested the substance xipamide intentionally. He was given a reduced one year ban, as permitted by WADA rules regarding specified substances, and missed the 2013 Tour.
The 2011 podium finisher is hoping to return to the race next month. He has ridden solidly rather than spectacularly this year, with sixth in the Critérium International and ninth in the Tour of Luxembourg his best results, but had hoped to continue improving prior to the Tour.
The team spokesman said the Trek Factory Racing lineup for the Tour remains to be decided, but that there was no danger that the concussion would itself force Schleck to miss the event.
“It doesn’t really mean anything for his Tour de France participation,” he stated. “The team will decide after Suisse, as we’d said before. Frank is in the long list.”
“If he takes the necessary rest now, it doesn’t mean anything for his presence or absence from the Tour.”
His brother Andy Schleck is also on that long list and is expected to be selected for the race. While he has struggled with his form since crashing heavily in the 2012 Critérium du Dauphiné, his performance in the Tour de Suisse thus far has been respectable.
He was 60th in the opening time trial and finished in the main chase group yesterday, fourteen seconds behind the winner Cameron Meyer (Tour de Suisse), Sky’s Philip Deignan and Larry Warbasse of the BMC Racing Team. He is 44th overall heading into today’s stage, and will hope to continue moving up in the mountains.