Andy Schleck had hoped to return to racing at the...

NewsWire: Schleck out of USA Pro Challenge; Hushovd’s season is over; Gilbert not interested in winning small races

Andy Schleck out of USA Pro Challenge; Thor Hushovd done for 2012; Philippe Gilbert not interested in winning small races

In our daily NewsWire, we bring you a collection of the intriguing stories from newspapers, journals and elsewhere around the world of competitive cycling. Pour your coffee, mute your phone and read on.

Gilbert: ‘I’m not interested in winning small races’ — La Dernière Heure

Philippe Gilbert has won a race every year he’s been a pro, until this year. The Belgian has lived without the intoxication of winning in 2012, by far his most disastrous season in recent memory.

“It’s true that I miss it,” he said Wednesday after the Belgian time trial championships, where he placed third at 1:09. “But my early season was not easy. And yet I’ve always wanted to align myself with the big races. I possibly could have won this year if I had entered more small events, but even though I love winning and I always take the start of a race looking to assert myself, I’m not interested in winning small races. My place is on the classics, at the great matchups.”

Gilbert has waited until late in the season to win before, though. In 2003 his first victory came at the Tour de l’Avenir on September 12, and in 2008 he did not win until the Tour de Limousin.

“I remember at the time, the (Limousin) victory was very good. It’s not always easy to handle this lack of success, but I remind myself that I’m coming off an outstanding 2011 season and now I have a huge target on my back.”

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Thor Hushovd done for 2012 — Fædrelandsvennen

Norwegian Thor Hushovd will not return to racing in 2012, according to his personal trainer Atle Kvålsvoll. The former world champion has struggled all year, dropping out of the Giro d’Italia and then the Tour of Poland, and removing himself from the captaincy of the Norwegian Olympic squad.

Testing at the Mapei center earlier in the year showed a lingering viral infection, and Hushovd has spent the last week in the United States performing further tests.

“He has received some answers, but they are waiting for more results,” Kvålsvoll said. “BMC must respond to the information.”

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Andy Schleck ruled out of USA Pro Challenge — The Denver Post

Andy Schleck has been ruled out of the upcoming USA Pro Challenge, his team announced Thursday. The Luxembourger, who raced in Colorado last year, was planning to use the race as his return from a pelvic injury suffered at the Critérium du Dauphiné.

Schleck has been able to train, but long rides are still impossible.

“When he trains up to three hours, he still has pain in his back,” Radioshack-Nissan’s Phillip Maertens said. “His training level is not good enough. He can’t do a long training ride.”

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