Andy Schleck announced his retirement from professional racing on Thursday.
Images: Yuzuru Sunada
Here’s the full statement from his team, Trek Factory Racing:
Mondorf-les-Bains, Luxembourg — After nine years at the top of the sport, Trek Factory Racing standout Andy Schleck announced this morning that he will retire from professional cycling. The young Luxembourger’s career was forced to an untimely end by the knee injury he sustained in a Tour de France crash earlier this year.
“I’m obviously disappointed to end my career like this,” said Schleck. “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 realization that at the risk of irreversibly injuring it, this is the best course of action.”
In his storied career, Schleck rode to victory on some of cycling’s biggest stages, stepping four times onto Grand Tour podiums. Among his many notable accomplishments, Schleck won the 2010 Tour de France and triumphed in the 2009 Liège-Bastogne-Liège after a courageous solo breakaway. Schleck highlights his win on the Galibier stage of the 2011 Tour de France as one of his most memorable achievements.
Though only 29 years old, Schleck has made a lasting impact on the sport, and his presence in the pro peloton will surely be missed. Well-loved by fans and teammates alike, Schleck’s legacy will be his good nature, strength of character, and sportsmanship. In his years at the highest level of the sport, Schleck distinguished himself as a humble, hard-working and earnest competitor.
“Andy was an instant and natural fit for the Trek family when we first met him with LEOPARD-TREK,” said Trek VP Joe Vadeboncoeur. “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.”
At the unfortunate end of a career of limitless potential, Schleck is quick to keep things in perspective. “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,” he said. “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.”