Adrien Niyonshuti forced to take long break from racing due to deep vein thrombosis
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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Adrien Niyonshuti forced to take long break from racing due to deep vein thrombosis

by VeloNation Press at 2:07 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Injury
MTN Qhubeka rider suffered DVT plus pulmonary emboli on an international flight

Adrien NiyonshutiHaving been gearing up for what he hoped would be his biggest season to date, the Rwandan rider Adrien Niyonshuti has now been forced to cancel all immediate plans to compete, and will be out of racing action for many months.

The MTN Qhubeka rider took a flight from Rwanda in mid January and experienced swelling in his right calf afterwards. Doctors investigated and determined that he had suffered deep vein thrombosis (DVT) complicated by pulmonary emboli, and believe that the issue cropped up on due to dehydration and inactivity on the flight.

He was hospitalized immediately after the diagnosis and received crucial treatment. While he has since been discharged and feels well, there will be a lingering effect on his season as he needs to take a prolonged course of blood-thinners. He will be out of competition indefinitely as a result, although it is hoped that he might be able to resume racing later this year.

“I am disappointed but grateful that this was discovered sooner rather than later,” he said. “I was looking forward to testing myself against some of the biggest riders in the world. I will use this time to rest and reflect on my career and what I’ve achieved so far. I will be able to start indoor training in a couple of weeks and we’ll keep closely monitoring my health and progress.”

MTN-Qhubeka team doctor Jon Patrios explained that the circumstances are serious and that the rider’s safety is of primary importance. “In a situation like this the immediate and long-term health of the athlete takes absolute precedence over the disappointment associated with the team losing one of our high profile riders,” he said. “Team MTN-Qhubeka’s medical network will continue to investigate possible intrinsic causes of Adrien’s illness and monitor his recovery while striving to facilitate his return to high level cycling.”

Niyonshuti lost six of his brothers in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, escaping the slaughter with his parents. Years later he took up cycling as a way to try to forget about what happened, or rather to move on and focus on something different, and soon showed that he had a solid talent. He won the Tour of Rwanda in 2006 and 2007, and has been national road race champion for the past three years.

MTN Qhubeka team principal Douglas Ryder believes that Niyonshuti can shift his focus to other areas while he is recovering. “This is sad day for the team as we know Adrien’s potential and we know how badly he wants to make the transition to the road cycling discipline and race in the world’s biggest races,” he stated.

“We believe things happen for a reason and this is an opportunity for Adrien to inspire Qhubeka bike recipients in communities to become professional cyclists telling his stories of working hard to become an Olympian and living abroad. It gives Adrien time to focus on his cycling academy in Rwanda and the next generation of Rwandan cyclists.”

Niyonshuti is 26 years of age and therefore has time on his side, in terms of being able to return to competition.



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