Tour De France Contender Andy Schleck to Miss Race, Which Is Now Wide Open

Michael HatamotoContributor IIIJune 13, 2012

LIEGE, BELGIUM - APRIL 22: Andy Schleck of Luxembourg and Radioshack-Nissan rides up the Cote de La Redoute during the 98th Liege-Bastogne-Liege cycle road race on April 22, 2012 in Liege, Belgium.  (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images).  (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Team RadioShack-Nissan-Trek rider Andy Schleck announced he will miss the Tour de France due to injuries suffered during a crash in a time trial at the Criterium du Dauphine.

“My world fell apart when I heard the news,” Schleck said during the press conference.  “I won’t win the 2012 Tour de France, I won’t even be in it.”

A gust of wind caught his rear disc wheel and forced Schleck off the time trial bike just 12 kilometers into the Dauphine time trial.  Even prior to the ITT, Schleck was suffering through the climbs as rivals Cadel Evans and Bradley Wiggins easily dropped the Luxembourg native.

Even prior to the injury, Schleck had a rather rough season that included two races abandoned, a missed start due to stomach problems (Paris-Nice, Stage 3) and poor results throughout the rest of the season.

The younger Schleck brother was named to the RadioShack-Nissan-Trek long list of riders, which conveniently opens the door for Chris Horner to sneak onto the team after originally being snubbed. 

Frank Schleck, who finished third in the Tour last year, will now be the new RadioShack-Nissan-Trek GC contender and will try to better the likes of Cadel Evans and Bradley Wiggins.

Despite a rather unimpressive race season, Schleck was still expected to be a contender during the Tour de France.  He’ll head home to rest and recover in time for the Summer Olympics and is expected to also start the Vuelta a Espana in August.    

The Tour de France starts on June 30 and is expected to feature a GC battle between Cadel Evans and Bradley Wiggins. Meanwhile, the elder Schleck, Levi Leipheimer, Alejandro Valverde and a few other riders are expected to compete for the yellow jersey.  With the younger Schleck brother out of the race, it will now be interesting to see how much effort RadioShack-Nissan-Trek dedicates to controlling the peloton and dropping riders on the climbs.