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by Shane Stokes
July 8, 2014
Despite media suggestions on Twitter that Andy Schleck cannot bend his knee after falling close to the end of today’s third stage of the Tour de France, his Trek Factor Racing team has said that the rider’s condition is not too serious after his crash and that he will continue in the race.
“We are pretty confident that he didn’t break anything, which is a good thing,” a team spokesman told CyclingTips. “He has got scrapes and bruises and all kinds of contusions, pretty much everywhere you could expect it – shoulder, hip, elbow, knee, that kind of stuff. But we think he should be fine.”
The 2010 Tour de France winner had a scare when he hit the deck with approximately 30 kilometres remaining. He remounted slowly and got back on his bike, riding on to the finish. He crossed the line one minute and five seconds behind the main bunch, which was led in by Marcel Kittel (Giant Shimano).
According to the spokesman, the crash occurred when he went to the back of the peloton to get bottles. He said that a rider in front of him made a sudden movement and Schleck went down.
The media suggestions that he cannot bend his knee have been dismissed. “He needs to keep it moving, absolutely, just to make sure it doesn’t become more sore,” the spokesman said.
“He should be able to start tomorrow. He is going to be in pain, probably, but it’s just like any other crash.”
Schleck suffered a bad crash during the 2012 Critérium du Dauphiné, falling hard in the time trial and fracturing his pelvis. That led to a long period away from racing and then a number of withdrawals from races, but he appears to be in better form of late.
The Luxembourg rider said that he is still short of the condition to ride for a GC result in the Tour and because of that, that he would act as a domestique instead for his brother Fränk plus Haimar Zubeldia.
Things were less than ideal for the former today, with Fränk Schleck finishing in the same group as his brother, one minute and five seconds back.
“With the rain the roads were slippery and there were some crashes,” he said. “With three kilometers to go some riders in front of me let a gap open. I was gapped off and I tried to sprint but I could not close the gap. It was my fault – I was not in the front enough. It just goes to show there is no easy day in the Tour de France. What can I say? That’s how it is.”