Frank Schleck (Trek Factory Racing) heads into his fifteenth season as a professional rider with his focus once again firmly on the Tour de France. The veteran rider, who is now 35, endured a difficult campaign in 2015 but claimed a first win in over a year courtesy of a stage win the Vuelta a Espana.
“I really still enjoy riding my bike but there’s no denying that this has been a really tough season. It’s been a rollercoaster from start to finish,” according to Cyclingnews who interviewed him at his home in Luxembourg.
Many would have forgiven Schleck for wanting a backseat for 2016 – the final year of his current deal at Trek – especially after an injury-plagued year. However, the win in the Vuelta has helped spur him on an unlike his teammate Fabian Cancellara he has no plans of retiring within the next twelve months, with a shot at the Tour de France still a major target.
“I won’t carry on riding until I’m 42, don’t worry. It’s going to be hard for me, next season, because I’ve been on the podium in races like the Tour but I know that’s not going to be easy to repeat because of the evolution of young riders who are coming through and it’s harder and harder to perform. However, I still believe that I can ride a top ten in the Tour,” he said.
“If that’s not the case then that’s fine, I can still lead the team in other ways by being at the front and helping others. I can give experience to younger riders. It’s just hard for me to say that 2016 is going to be my last year.”