The Luxembourgish rider Fränk Schleck has announced he will retire at the end of his 2016 season, marking the finale of a 15 year career in competitive cycling.
The Trek-Segafredo rider announced his decision during the Luxembourg Olympic team press conference in Rio de Janeiro, saying: ”There is never an easy way to stop doing something you love to do, but I've always wanted to retire at a level where I was still competitive and fit.”
“I'm really proud of having spent a large part of my life riding my bike for a living and, above all, I'm extremely thankful for the friends I have made along the way.
"The memories of the victories and the great times I have experienced in some amazing teams will stay with me forever. I will always be a bike rider, but leaving the professional side of things will allow me to spend more time with my family and to see my two kids grow up. I have mellowed over the years, and my family and kids became more and more important to me.”
Fränk Schleck began his professional career in 2003 and standouts amongst his impressive palmares are winning the 2006 Amstel Gold Race and the coveted Alpe d’Huez stage at the Tour de France the same year. His stage race victories include the Tour of Luxembourg (2009) and the Tour de Suisse (2010), but when asked about his best memory he pointed to the 2011 Tour de France when he finished third overall.
He said: “I could mention a lot of moments that have stood out for me, but finishing on the podium of the Tour de France has to be my proudest moment as a bike rider - that memory will never be far away. But, to be fair, right now I don’t want to become too nostalgic because the season is still long and I really want to give 100% to the team until the very end of it. I would love to get a victory in the coming months; that would be a dream, the perfect scenario, really.
“I want to thank all of the friends, fans, and sponsors I have been privileged to meet these many years and I look forward to seeing this sport develop even more in the years to come. It has given me a lot, and I retire feeling proud of having been part of it.”
Trek-Segafredo General Manager Luca Guercilena: “I wish Fränk all the best in his new life; he has been a central part of our organization over the years, and he will be greatly missed. He's an intelligent rider able to finalize in the race the hard work done in training and has been a great leader.
“Fränk has many incredible results in his career, and I'm sure he will obtain some more in the new life that awaits him."
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.