Luxembourg’s Tour de France runner-up Andy Schleck and his Australian Saxo Bank team-mate Stuart O’Grady were dropped on Tuesday from the Tour of Spain for breaking the team’s rules by going out for a drink.
Saxo Bank’s Danish manager Bjarne Riis told AFP that the exclusion of the two riders from the race, the third of the big tours after the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France, “had nothing to do” with doping.
Schleck, a two-time Tour de France runner-up, said he respected the manager’s decision even though he felt it was too severe.
“I acknowledge that I have broken a rule of the team by going out for a drink after dinner and for that reason Bjarne has decided to send myself and Stuart O’Grady home,” he told cycing web site cyclingnews.com.
“I’m responsible for my actions and even though I think it is too harsh a decision, I respect that Bjarne is the boss and he needs to do what he thinks is the best,” the 25-year-old added.
Schleck, who had said he was taking part in the race to help his older brother Frank, was in 77th place in the overall standings, 37 minutes and 16 seconds behind the leader, Spain’s Igor Anton of Euskaltel.
Frank Schleck, who was forced to abandon the Tour of France during the third stage of the race after he suffered a broken collarbone in a fall, arrived at the Tour of Spain in fresher shape than his brother for the race.
He is in 13th place in the overall standings, one minute and 47 seconds behind the leader.
The 21-stage Tour of Spain wraps up in Madrid on September 19.
© AFP 2010