Andy Schleck announced today that if his friend Alberto Contador decides to retire because of a doping suspension he will also retire.
“We are good friends and I want to show him my full support,” said Schleck. “I believe he’s innocent and if he is forced to leave the sport, I will do the same.”
According to an undisclosed source, Schleck has had numerous phone conversations with Contador over the last month where they discussed a possible double retirement.
“Alberto is not prepared to reveal details. But Andy is a close friend, a true sportsman and he and Alberto have a special bond,” said Jacinto Vidarte, Contador’s press agent,
The news was a shock to Luxembourg Cycling Project manager Brian Nygaard. “Andy has told me nothing of this. It’s a rude surprise. It is a beautiful gesture but I’m sure his statement was taken out of context.”
While context may be an issue, Schleck seemed to make it clear his retirement threat was as serious as the Spaniard’s. “Why wouldn’t I retire? Where is the challenge if Alberto is gone? People forget that a great rivalry is what sport is all about. I don’t want to win the Tour if Contador isn’t there,” said Schleck.
The question becomes, what if Andy Schleck isn’t there, either. “Nobody should panic at this point,” said Kim Andersen, the Luxembourg Cycling Project director sportif. “You have to remember, we still have Frank. We will go to the Tour with high ambitions, no matter what happens.”
Speaking with Spanish television, Contador was gratified by the support of his good friend Schleck. “So many terrible things have happened, people had said said many hurtful things but when I have Andy’s support it means so much,” said Contador.
While there have apparently been discussion on a joint retirement, nothing is set as yet except for a boat trip to Cuba and some fishing at Andy’s cabin.
However, Spanish Cycling Federations president Juan Carlos Castano says Andy will have no need to retire. “We are taking an objective but extremely favorable look at the suspect findings against my personal friend and one of Spain’s great heroes, Alberto Contador,” said Castano. “If I were Andy, I wouldn’t worry.”