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One of the top favourites for the world road race championships, John Degenkolb, has been forced to withdraw from the Giant-Shimano squad for the team time trial after being hospitalised in Germany.
The sprinter clocked up four stage wins plus the green jersey in the Vuelta a España, sealing the latter achievement on Sunday, but quickly ran into problems his team attributes to his stage seven crash in the race.
“After the race my lymph nodes swelled up to ping-pong ball size and then I could barely walk with the pain,” he said in a team statement. “It turns out one of the abrasions was deeper than we thought. A combination of the work-load at the Vuelta and the healing of the skin led to inflammation.”
“I tortured myself over the final stages in order not to lose the jersey, then at night I got chills and fevers and was admitted to hospital after my flight home.
The team’s medical expert Anko Boelens gave further details of the situation plus the treatment Degenkolb is undergoing.
“John has been hospitalised to be treated with intravenous antibiotics after one of the wounds he sustained early in the Vuelta became infected,” he said. “The healing process was going as expected until the morning of the penultimate stage when one of the almost-healed wounds became painful again.
“Since regular antibiotics were no longer having an effect John was hospitalised. We expect him to be out in the next two days. He is already feeling a lot better and the intravenous antibiotics are having the desired effect.”
Degenkolb’s five stage wins plus his ability to cope with tough courses have combined to make him one of the top favourites for the worlds. While the team has confirmed that there is no question of him riding the world championship team time trial, he emphasised that the road race is still a target.
However it remains to be seen how much his form will be compromised by the medical issue. He states that it will be several more days before he returns home.
“Thanks go to the public hospital in Frankfurt, and the nurses and doctors, I feel in good hands here. I will stay here under observation for a few more days but I keep my goal, the World Championships, in mind,” he said.