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Tour de France

Andy Schleck expected to announce Tour non-start

Struggling Luxembourger has broken vertebra from Dauphine crash and is RadioShack's second star to miss the start in Liege

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Andy Schleck is expected to announce Wednesday afternoon in Luxembourg that he will not be racing in this year’s Tour de France.

Luxembourg media is reporting that the younger of the Schleck brothers suffered a broken vertebra during his heavy crash in the stage 4 time trial at the Critérium du Dauphiné, which he abandoned two days later.

RadioShack-Nissan officials announced early Wednesday that Schleck would attend a press conference set for 4:00 p.m. European time.

The announcement comes just two days after RadioShack officials confirmed its long-list of 14 riders in consideration for the Tour. In a growing controversy, that list did not include American Chris Horner.

Whether Schleck’s setback will open the door for Horner’s participation in the Tour remains to be seen.

Schleck’s injuries were initially thought to be superficial, but closer exams Tuesday revealed that Schleck has a broken vertebra, making it painful for him to train in the closing days ahead of the Tour start June 30 in Liège, Belgium.

Schleck has had an uneven and inconsistent 2012 season marked by crashes and poor form, but was hoping to arrive at the Tour in shape to challenge for the yellow jersey. At the end of May, he cut short a training camp on some key stages of the Tour to have treatment for three days at a clinic in Basel, Switzerland, on a troublesome knee. He had planned to continue his training camp in the Pyrénées on Thursday, but hospital scans at the beginning of the week ended all hopes of competing in this year’s race.

Last month, Schleck was officially awarded the maillot jaune for the 2010 Tour de France, when he was second to Alberto Contador, who was later disqualified after testing positive for traces of clenbuterol.

Schleck’s likely Tour non-participation only heightens expectations for the 2012 Vuelta a España, where a Contador-Schleck head-to-head battle could become one of this biggest stories of the season.

Andy Schleck 2012 results

Trofee de Mallorca 97th
Tour of Oman 32nd
Paris-Nice Did not start stage 3
Vuelta Ciclista a Catalunya Abandoned stage 3
Circuit de la Sarthe 22nd
Amstel Gold Race 91st
La Flèche Wallonne 81st
Liège–Bastogne–Liège 50th
Critérium du Dauphiné Abandoned stage 6

Agence France Presse contributed to this report.