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by Shane Stokes
September 3, 2014
After speculation about whether or not he would remain with the team, Fränk Schleck has been confirmed as remaining part of the Trek Factory Racing setup for another two years. The Luxembourg rider came back to racing this season after a suspension and while he hasn’t returned to his previous level of form, the 34 year old has had a solid season.
He was 12th in the recent Tour de France, won the Luxembourg national road race championships and went close to a stage win in Paris-Nice. The elder of the two Schleck brothers has been confirmed as one of the team leaders for stage races and hilly Classics.
“I’m very happy to stay with the people I have been with since 2011. Trek Factory Racing is special to me: it’s a group of friends, not just team mates,” he said. “If you spend so much time together on the road, you’re happy to do it with friends.”
“I have had a rough year and a half and Trek has always stood behind me during this time. My performance in 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 for myself.”
He also said that he is motivated to guide the younger riders on the team and to try to help them win races. “I believe I have a lot of experience and I can’t wait to share it with those youngsters. It’s the team that counts. If I can’t win, I’m the first to help another.”
The announcement of the contract extension made no mention of his brother Andy. Contacted by CyclingTips, a Trek spokesman said that no decision had been made yet about whether or not he would be given an extension.
The younger of the two brothers is still recovering from a knee injury he sustained at the Tour de France.
General Manager Luca Guercilena acknowledges that the season hasn’t been as good as Fränk Schleck had hoped for, but said that he had faith in him. “Fränk is a hard working athlete who at times can be very hard on himself. He’s been very eager to prove himself in the races that he loves,” he said.
“A big victory is missing, but we know how much effort he put into his training and racing.”
“I am very happy that we found an agreement and that Fränk is staying with us. He will continue to play a leading part in stage races and Classics. He will a great support for Bauke Mollema in the defence of the team’s overall ambitions in the Grand Tours.”
As for Riccardo Zoidl, the neo-pro had another year with the team already in place. However the Austrian climber and time trialist has had a strong season, with his results including a national road race title, and the team is happy to renegotiate.
“I’m happy and proud with this renewal,” he said, speaking about the extension until the end of 2016. “I feel very good in this group of people and I feel a lot of trust in me. This new contract means security, but above all it is motivation to keep working hard.”
“My ambitions are to keep making progress and work on my weak points. I hope to be able to land a win soon. That would be wonderful for myself and for the team. Stage races will remain my focus, especially the ones of one week.”
Guercilena states that the rider has shown ‘strong progression’ this year. “He started really well with a third place overall in the Tour Med and did some good results in the time trials in Romandie and the Giro,” he said. “We’ve seen obvious improvements from him. He’s ready to take the next step and we’re ready to support his development.”