Fränk Schleck tests positive for doping on July 17, 2012, tainting the Schleck brothers' reputation.
2012 has not been the year for Andy and Fränk Schleck. Andy Schleck forfeited his place in the race on June 7, 2012, after an injury. One month later, his older brother is forced to leave the Tour de France tournament, after testing positive for doping.
A difficult start to the season
Andy and Frank did not achieve the results their coach, Johan Bruyneel, expected in the Ardennes classics. While Bruyneel originally claimed to have the "strongest team in the world," he met with the two cyclists following the Ardennes classics to remotivate them.
In May, Fränk's decision to leave the Tour of Italy due to a shoulder injury caused speculation. Johan Bruyneel revealed he was disappointed by the cyclist's actions. The Italian press stated they did not view Fränk's injury as legitimate. Bruyneel consistently emphasized during the time that Luxembourg's team for the Tour de France had not yet been selected.
A competition of obstacles?
Facing accidents, repeated illnesses and unfortunate weather conditions, should the Schleck brothers attribute their lack of success this year to fate? Andy experienced a gastroentiritis during the Paris-Nice competition, while his brother also was ill during the Critérium International. "At Paris-Nice and at the Critérium International, I was sick, and thus did not do as well," said the cyclist during an interview with the site Velochrono.
The doping issue
As if the start to the season was not hectic enough for the Luxembourgish cyclists, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) revealed that Fränk tested positive for doping, for the 13th stage of the Tour de France on July 14, 2012. To avoid police intervention, the cyclist turned himself in to a Pau police station. He risks being suspended from competition for two years.
In spite of the test results, the cyclist continues to deny the allegations: "I formally contest having taken any forbidden substance," he said in a public statement, on the RTL Luxembourg website. "I can't, as of now, explain the test's result, and I consequently insist on taking a second test," he added. If the result of the second test is also positive, he plans o claim he was poisoned. His younger brother Andy,s upports him. "On my life and on my family, I am sure that he didn't take anything, it's disgusting," he said in an interview with Le Parisien.
At 32 years old, the Luxembourgish cyclist was in 12th place, at 9 minutes and 45 seconds behind Bradley Wiggins, who is currently leading the race.
The photo above was taken by our contributor on July 11, 2012 during the 10th stage of the Tour de France, at Bellegarde-sur-Valserine.