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Andy Schleck announces retirement at age of 29

Knee injury sustained in July's Tour de France brings premature end to career that promised so much...

Andy Schleck has announced his retirement from professional cycling at the age of 29, blaming a knee injury he picked up on a crash during Stage 3 of the Tour de France in July as the race headed into London.

The news had been expected ever since his Trek Factory Racing team announced earlier this week that the rider would be holding a press conference in his native Luxembourg this morning.

There, he told journalists that while his ligaments had healed, he had almost no cartilage left in his kneecap, and choking back tears confirmed that in racing terms at least, his cycling career was finished.

In a press release issued shortly beforehand Schleck, awarded the overall victory in the 2010 Tour de France after Alberto Contador was stripped of the title, said: “I’m obviously disappointed to end my career like this.

“I would have liked to keep on fighting but my knee just doesn’t allow it. Since my crash in the UK there has hardly been any progress.

“While the ligaments have healed, the damaged cartilage is another story.

“I have been working hard on rehabbing the knee but came to the hard realisation that at the risk of irreversibly injuring it, this is the best course of action.”

Schleck, who also won the 2009 edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, highlights his storming solo win on the Galibier in the final week of the 2011 Tour de France as one of his career highlights.

That stage victory set him up to take the race leader’s yellow jersey from Thomas Voeckler the following day, but within 24 hours he lost it to Cadel Evans in the time trial on the penultimate stage.

He missed the 2012 Tour de France after fracturing his sacrum during the previous month’s Critérium du Dauphiné, and never recaptured his previous form, abandoning races or finishing well down the overall standings.

Trek vice-president Joe Vadeboncoeur said: “Andy was an instant and natural fit for the Trek family when we first met him with Leopard-Trek.

"It has always been more about family than anything else at Trek, and so it is with Andy. On top of that, Andy is one of the most talented cyclists of all time. Many of my best days as a cycling fan have been while watching Andy race.

“We have celebrated the great days and endured the difficult ones alongside him. I know great things are ahead for Andy. He will always have friends and a family at Trek.”

Schleck, whose older brother Fränk last month signed a two-year contract extension with the team, also emphasised the importance of family.

He said: “Cycling has been my life for many years and I will need time to figure out what I’d like to do.

“Luckily I can count on my family, friends, and Trek who have always supported me.

"I am very happy to have trained and raced alongside my brother and to have made some of the best friends that I have.

“I have always said that cycling is not the beginning and the end of my life. I have a wonderful girlfriend and a wonderful son. I’m excited to find out what lies ahead.”

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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SteppenHerring | 9 years ago

His career has been going downhill slowly for a while.

Ratfink | 9 years ago

Hope the twonk that was standing in the road that caused the crash sees this.I doubt it though.

Al__S | 9 years ago

He looked so happy before the start of Stage 3:

Always had my reservations about both of them due to their connections to dopers, but still sad to see this.

Simmo72 | 9 years ago

Not the way any athlete wants to leave the sport and at a time when he should be entering his grand tour peak. Whatever people say about him, he's put in some great performances and it is a big shame.

ct | 9 years ago

What a shame, I hope that a couple of years of inactivity may give a long enough time for him to get back into the sport. He has endured a torrid couple of years.

Best of luck to him.

gareth2510 | 9 years ago

I for 1 am really gutted. Enjoyed watching him. Things havnt been god for him for a good while, but he's still a damn fine rider. For me the wrong Schleck will be riding next year and thats a shame

Mendip James | 9 years ago

His Galibier stage win ride has to go down as one of the most epic in recent history, he's had a lot of stick since, but chapeau for that  41

RobD | 9 years ago

It's a shame that he's bowed out like that, seems like he's been a bit unlucky a few times, maybe he wasn't the most driven rider ever, but on his day he was very good to watch.

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