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08.12.2015 @ 06:30 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Fränk Schleck (Trek) can look back on a season that was difficult in many aspects. The Luxemburger had to get used not to having his brother Andy at his side. Furthermore, Schleck was repeatedly set back by injuries. Finally, however, he managed to end the season on a high in Spain.


Schleck won the 16th stage of the Vuelta a Espana and so was able to clinch at least one victory of the season - it was also the first victory since the summer of 2014 when he became Luxembourgish Champion. "After all the setbacks, this Vuelta was such a blessing for me," the 35-year-old told


After a great start to the season at the Mallorca Challenge where he was ninth at Trofeo Serra (1.1), Schleck was plagued by two serious injuries. 


After a crash at the start of the Vuelta a Andalucía, the stage race specialist teared a muscle which forced him to take a two-week break from training before he could return at the Tour of the Basque Country. "Unfortunately it was not enough to get to the Ardennes classics at the top level," said Schleck who crashed again at Liège-Bastogne-Liège and sustain an injury of the ligament in the knee. The result was an even longer break which ultimately cost him the Tour de France.


"That was a very lengthy injury which hampered me until the Tour de Suisse," said Schleck who was unable to prove himself ready for the Tour in the Swiss race. “For me, the missed Tour de France was the biggest disappointment of the year,” he added.


Instead of the T, the Vuelta a Espana was added to his schedule. Schleck got into form at the hard Tour of Utah where a fourth place proved that he would not go to the Vuelta as pack fill. In Spain he finally broke the drought when he took a solo win in the uphill finish on stag 16 and thus managed to forget a disappointing first half of the year. "The season was like a roller coaster," he said about the constant ups and downs.


Added to this, he had to deal with the end of the career for his brother Andy with whom he had previously formed an inseparable duo for eleven years. However, that "phantom pain" has now been overcome even if Schleck adde: "It is and will remain a difficult transition."


But the injury of his younger brother "left no other option, so we had no choice but to accept the situation. Slowly I have adapted, especially since I was informed about the decision quite early and could prepare accordingly," said Schleck whose contract with Trek expires at the end of the 2016 season.


In his possibly final season as a professional cyclist, he mainly wants to show himself in the big races. Hence, the classics, the Tour de France, the Olympic road race in Rio and the Tour of Lombardy all feature highly on Schleck’s list.


"Those are the races where I want to be in good shape and for which I will prepare myself specially," he announced. But as one of the oldest in the Trek team, he also wants to pass on his experience to younger teammates. "I want to be a good team captain. This also includes support for the young riders," Schleck said.



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