Frank Schleck sidelined after training crash

Seven stitches needed, fractures not ruled out

Frank Schleck of Luxembourg and riding for Saxo Bank celebrates his victory in Stage 8 of the AMGEN Tour of California on February 22, 2009 in Escondido, California

Saxo Bank’s Frank Schleck has been sidelined with several injuries from a training ride crash, compromising the Luxembourg ace’s chances of being in prime condition for April’s spring classics.

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Schleck, the older brother of Tour de France white jersey winner Andy, skidded with his front wheels during a training ride and crashed in a curve going downhill, according to a team statement.

It added: “Seven stitches on the chin and a heavy contusion on his left wrist was the immediate damage, but further examinations were needed yesterday afternoon at a clinic in Luxembourg to rule out any fractures.”

Schleck, who would normally be aiming to be fit for one-day classics such as the Amstel Gold Race and Liege-Bastogne-Liege, is now scheduled to return to action at the two-day Criterium International in France at the end of March.

“This doesn’t come at a convenient time, since I’m in really good shape after Paris-Nice and I hope to get back into racing as soon as possible,” said Schleck.

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Schleck was part of the CSC team that helped Spaniard Carlos Sastre claim the Tour de France yellow jersey last year.