Andy Schleck continues return at the Tour of Beijing

Radioshack Nissan Trek rider Frank Schleck of Luxembourg reacts after crossing the finish line of the 166 km ninth stage of the Giro d’Italia from San Giorgio del Sannio to Frosinone, May 14, 2012. (REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo)

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Two-time Tour de France runner up Andy Schleck will make the trip to China for the 2012 Tour of Beijing after a four month absence due to a pelvis fracture.

“The last week I have done a lot of training in Luxembourg, I’m ready and motivated for the Tour of Beijing,” said Schleck.

“Don’t call this my come back. My real come back will be next year when I will be in good shape at the start of ‘my’ races but I look forward to making the start and finish at the Tour of Beijing.”

“The weather will be better than in Luxembourg in October and I need to finish the 2012 season on a positive note. Binche-Tournai-Binche was hard for me because of the rain, speed and wind, but I was very happy to be back in the peloton. It was a very nice feeling to pin on my race number in the morning, as well to see the people waiting and cheering for me,” said Schleck.

Team Director José Azevedo starts with ambition and nice memories in Beijing and believes Radioshack-Nissan Trek Team have a roster that can fight for stage and overall success.

“We were there last year and got a second place on a stage and were present on the podium almost every day with Ben King who won the Best Young Rider jersey. Ben will be in Beijing again, but our leader will be Daniele Bennati. He is able to win one or more stages,” said Azevedo.

Italian rider Bennati obtained his sixth Vuelta a Espana career win this year and believes he is in great condition going into his final WorldTour race with Radioshack-Nissan Trek Team after the 31-year-old signed with Saxo Bank – Tinkoff Bank for the 2013 season.

“I’m finishing this season in good shape and after the Vuelta my condition remains great. I saw that in Piemonte last week. I’m not tired yet and more than motivated. I want to finish the season with an extra victory as a thank you to the team for the last two seasons,” said Bennati.

“Last year the overall winner was decided after two days because of the early individual time trial and uphill finish. Now the race looks well balanced and with Jan Bakelants, George Bennett and Haimar Zubeldia we have three riders to contest the General Classification category. The five-six K climbs are perfect for them, said Azevedo.

The 2012 Tour of Beijing will be held from the 9th to the 13th of October as the last event on the UCI WorldTour calendar. Starting from the historic Tiananmen Square the five-day Tour will also feature some of China’s top tourist attractions including the Bird’s Nest Stadium and the Great Wall.

Radioshack-Nissan Trek Team – 2012 Tour of Beijing

Jan BAKELANTS (BEL, 26): Since being voted the best young rider on tour in 2008, Jan Bakelants has continued to improve as a cyclist. Highlights to date include Aggressive rides in the 2011 Vuelta a Espana and Giro d’Italia (where he finished fourth on stage 17), finishing sixth overall in the 2010 Tour de Wallonie and placing sixth overall in the 2012 Tour Down Under.

Daniele BENNATI (ITA, 31): Daniele Bennati is one of the fastest men on two wheels, being one of the few riders to have won sprint stages on all three Grand Tours. In 2007 he won the points classification of the Vuelta a Espana and in 2008 he won the points classification of the Giro d’Italia. His form has not dropped away since these victories, and in 2012 he won stage 18 of the Vuelta.

George BENNETT (NZL, 22): One of the youngest riders in the peloton, George Bennett is a specialist climber with a lot of potential. Highlights to date include winning the young rider jersey in the Ronde de l’Isard race in 2010, winning the 2011 Tour of Wellington and helping his team to victory in the 2012 Tour of Utah where he finished 14th overall.

Benjamin KING (USA, 23): Ben King is a talented young rider who has already secured a USA national road race championship (2010). A breakthrough moment occurred in 2011 when he finished 12th in the Tour of Beijing and won the young rider’s jersey. In 2012 he finished sixth on stage seven of the Tour of Austria.

Hayden ROULSTON (NZL,31): The 2011 New Zealand national road race champion is one of his nation’s most successful riders. Hayden Roulston has finished 10th in the 2010 Paris-Roubaix, finished third on stage 14 of the 2009 Tour de France and won the 2010 Tour of Southland. Hayden has also won a silver and bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics on the track.

Jesse SERGENT (NZL,24): After earning a professional contract at the start of 2011, Jesse Sergent has surprised many with a series of incredible results. In 2011 he won stage four of the Eneco Tour and had overall victories in the Three Days of West Flanders and Tour du Poitou-Charentes. In 2012 he won an Olympic bronze on the track in the team pursuit and finished third in the Giro d’Italia Individual Time Trial.

Andy Schleck (LUX, 27): Two time (2009 & 2011) runner up at the Tour de France and was awarded the 2010 Tour de France retroactively. Schleck had his 2012 season disrupted and the German missed out on the Tour de France, Olympics and Vuelta a Espana after sustaining an injury at the Criterium de Dauphine.

Haimar ZUBELDIA (ESP, 35): Haimar Zubeldia is an incredibly consistent all round rider who can win in the mountains and also time-trial strongly. He has placed in the top 10 in five grand tours, most recently in the 2012 Tour de France where he finished sixth overall. Other career highlights include winning the 2010 Tour de l’Ain and winning the Euskal Bizikleta in 2000.

2012 Tour of Beijing Stages:

Stage One – Tuesday 9th October
117km – Tiananmen Square to Bird’s Nest Olympic Piazza

Stage Two – Wednesday 10th October
126km – Bird’s Nest Piazza to Men Tou Gou Yong Ding River Cultural Square

Stage Three – Thursday 11th October
162.5km – Green Sea Forest Park to Yan Qing Ba Da Ling Great Wall

Stage Four – Friday 12th October
165.5km – Yan Qing Gui Chuan Square to Chang Ping Stadium

Stage Five – Saturday 13th October
182.5km – Chang Ping Stadium to Ping Gu Centenary Square

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