Andy Schleck has his work cut out to find form ahead of the Tour de France start, which is only a few weeks away. (Photo: Bettini)
Luxembourg's Andy Schleck abandoned the Dauphine Libere race on Saturday, during the penultimate sixth stage from Saint-Alban-Leysse to Morzine here in the French Alps. The younger of the Schleck brothers, who finished second behind Cadel Evans on last year's Tour de France, pulled out 64km into the 176.5km mountain stage.
Schleck had been struggling ever since being knocked to the ground by a strong gust of wind on Thursday's fourth stage time trial in Bourg-en-Bresse. "He couldn't pedal anymore," RadioShack sporting director Alain Gallopin told the race's official website. "Since he crashed during the time trial, the whole right side of his body was hurting. "He was climbing all right but he was suffering to hold his bike. Yesterday, he managed to finish but today, racing had become too difficult."
Schleck, who was recently awarded the winner's yellow jersey for the 2010 Tour de France after Alberto Contador was stripped of the title, was in 129th place in the general classification coming into the final two stages, almost half an hour adrift of overall leader Bradley Wiggins.