Luxembourg’s Fränk Schleck to hang up his helmet

Luxembourg's Fränk Schleck

Luxembourg cyclist Fränk Schleck has announced that the 2016 season will be his last, as he prepares for the Rio Olympic Games.

The 36-year-old Trek-Segafredo rider announced he will retire from the sport at the end of the season during the Luxembourg Olympic team press conference.

“There is never an easy way to stop doing something you love to do, but I’ve always wanted to retire at a level where I was still competitive and fit,” Schleck explained. “I’m really proud of having spent a large part of my life riding my bike for a living and, above all, I’m extremely thankful for the friends I have made along the way.”

The father-of-two explained that leaving professional cycling would allow him to spend more time with his family. “I have mellowed over the years, and my family and kids became more and more important to me,” he said.

The rider began his professional career in 2003 and won a number of races, including the 2006 Amstel Gold Race and the coveted Alpe d’Huez stage at the Tour de France the same year. His stage race victories include the Tour of Luxembourg (2009) and the Tour de Suisse (2010). But, he said his best memory was finishing third overall in the 2011 Tour de France.

“I could mention a lot of moments that have stood out for me, but finishing on the podium of the Tour de France has to be my proudest moment as a bike rider – that memory will never be far away.”

He said he hoped to achieve at least one more victory before retiring.

Trek-Segafredo General Manager Luca Guercilena described Fränk as an “intelligent rider” and “great leader”.

Fränk’s younger brother, Andy Schleck, who won the 2010 Tour de France, quit professional cycling two years ago at the age of 29 after a series of injuries.