Andy Schleck, Stuart O’Grady ordered out of Vuelta; Erviti wins stage; Rodriguez takes lead

By Daniel Woolls, AP
Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Schleck, O’Grady sent home from Spanish Vuelta

MADRID — Two-time Tour de France runner-up Andy Schleck and Saxo Bank teammate Stuart O’Grady were sent home from the Spanish Vuelta on Tuesday after breaking team rules on drinking, overshadowing a successful day for the home nation.

On a day Imanol Erviti of Spain won the 10th stage and countryman Joaquin Rodriguez took the overall lead, Team Saxo Bank said Schleck and O’Grady had been “sent home due to internal disciplinary reasons.” Schleck said he and O’Grady broke a team rule “by going out for a drink after dinner.”

Schleck said he is “responsible for my actions,” though he contends the decision by Team Saxo Bank boss Bjarne Riis to remove the pair was “too harsh.”

“I was getting back into shape and I would really have liked to stay at the Vuelta and help (brother) Frank and the rest of Team Saxo Bank,” Schleck told

Riis was not available for comment.

Relations between Riis and the Schleck brothers have been tense since they said they would leave to join a new team based in Luxembourg.

Other Team Saxo Bank riders Jakob Fuglsang, Jens Voigt and O’Grady also have been linked with the new team, which was created by Riis’ former longtime press assistant, Brian Nygaard, and his then-aide Kim Andersen.

In August, three-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador signed a deal to compete next season for Team Saxo Bank-Sungard — its new name beginning in 2011 — after deciding to leave Astana.

Luxembourg rider Schleck was 77th overall in the Vuelta standings, while Australian O’Grady was 157th.

In Tuesday’s 10th stage, Rodriguez, of Team Katusha, took the overall lead from Igor Anton Hernandez and is ahead by 2 seconds. Rodriguez picked up a time bonus on the intermediate sprints.

Erviti, who rides for Caisse d’Epargne, used a late solo breakaway to take the stage, covering 109 miles in northeast Spain from Tarragona to Vilanova i la Geltru in 4 hours, 13 minutes, 31 seconds. It was the second Vuelta stage win of his career.

Two Belgians were next: Romain Zingle and Greg Van Avermaet, both 37 seconds off the pace.

Wednesday’s 11th stage is a 130-mile ride from Vilanova i la Geltru to Andorra.

Associated Press writer Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, contributed to this report.

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