Andy Schleck and Saxo Bank team-mate Stuart O’Grady were both non-starters in the Tour of Spain’s stage on Tuesday after they went out for a drink after dinner the night before.

Saxo Bank team manager Bjarne Riis took the decision to expel the two for violation of the team’s internal rules, claiming that the pair didn’t return until 5am.

A statement issued by Schleck said that he had returned at 1am. Either way, Riis did not take kindly to his riders going out on a drinking session during a grand tour.

It is the second time Andy Schleck has abandoned the Vuelta – last year he quit on stage eight.

Andy Schleck lost 14 minutes early on in the Vuelta, where he switched abruptly from being an outside favourite to simply being on the race to help his brother Frank fight for the overall.

Neither of the Schlecks, or O’Grady, will remain with the Saxo Bank squad next year, when they will set up their new team based in Luxemberg, and Andy Schleck has already pulled out of the World’s. However, he has said that he will take part in the Tour of Lombardy.

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  • Rick

    Aussie Aussie Aussie – Good On ya Stuey! Riis is only pi**ed off ‘cos he can’t handle his beer, he used to handle his EPO pretty well though…..How can Riis take the moral high ground given his background?

  • dave

    Re “theswordsman” comment that if the allegation was true then Schleck could sue for slander, how about this scenario – does the riders contract forbid them from staying out late or having an undefined number of beers, I would have thought that Riis would have to prove that the riders were unable to do their job due to this late night and given the fact that the stage starts late in the day it could prove difficult.

    I am constantly amazed at the fact that riders tolerate such things or that they do not refuse to compete with known drug cheats

  • theswordsman

    Sporten has more on the stories. They claim to have a senior source on the team saying it was 5:30, and it wasn’t a shared bottle, but a drinking spree. They had a lot more from Riis, so it all sounds credible.

  • ste mull

    So Bjarne Riis is happy to turn a blind eye with Basso doping in 2006..sorry alegedly doping.. but not “an after dinner” drink..

  • theswordsman

    Riis has announced that the guys were pulled from the race because they got back to the hotel at 5:00 AM. Since Schleck lied in a press statement that they got back at 1:00, rather than 5:00, it seems likely that he lied about the number of drinks as well. How do you nurse two beers until five in the morning? And how many bars in Spain are open that late? It could be a different kind of club. I believe Riis, because Schleck could sue him for slander if he made it up, and there’s no advantage to him for doing so.

  • Ali

    Sounds to me alot like sour grapes, I can’t imagine they would have had too many and so blow their chances the next day.

  • Dave

    What were the rumours about all not being well at Saxo Bank, hence the exodus ?
    Does Bjarne really think they are all that bothered as they both are leaving, cutting off nose to spite face sounds appropriate does it not.
    Sounds like Mr. 60% is losing the plot and maybe Alberto is leaping out of the frying pan into ???