Florencio explains narrowing of Iliac artery has forced his retirement, will take up a sporting director role with Katusha
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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Florencio explains narrowing of Iliac artery has forced his retirement, will take up a sporting director role with Katusha

by Shane Stokes at 10:59 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Injury
Operation was possible, but Spanish rider believes risks are too great to continue in the sport

Xavier FlorencioThe 2006 Clásica de San Sebastián winner Xavier Florencio has explained his decision to retire at 33 years of age, saying that the necessity of a complex operation plus the possibility of future complications from that had prompted him to call it a day.

Florencio raced with the Katusha team for the past two seasons but had a falling-off in results this year due to injury. He explained the symptoms of that problem, how he tried to get it rectified and how he found out that it was another issue entirely.

“I felt I was not getting the results that I deserved and I felt a pain in my knee would not let me suffer more,” Florencio explained in a statement released today. “This pain has been the one that has made me a little desperate in recent times, not knowing what was wrong. In the end we discovered what was up.

“Thinking it was a knee problem, I went to different specialists such as Dr. Cugat in Barcelona and Dr. Guillen in Madrid; I visited osteopathy experts like Dr. Trabattoni, dentists, neurologists, etc, in addition to the work of assistants and team doctors in all competitions. To all of them, from here, I want to thank them for their professional involvement .

Coming up with blanks in the attempted treatment of the issue, Florencio went to a clinic in Sant Cugat to undergo tests with the doctors Piero and Turmo there. They had decided to test him to see if there was a possibility that the issue could be due to the narrowing of his iliac artery, a condition which has affected many other riders in the past.

Florencio then took the test results and went to a doctor Schep in the Netherlands, and there he got confirmation of the issue.

“He assured me that I had narrowing in the iliac artery, which causes a decrease of blood flow by 30-50 % in the left leg. The only solution was to have surgery to try to be back to 100% and get back to normal as a professional cyclist, but assured me that the transaction would improve.”

However the location of the kink in the artery was in his pelvic region, complicating the procedure, and he was told that the rehabilitation time would be between six and seven months.

After that, he would be required to have check ups each year and was told that there could be more serious complications in ten to twenty years time.

Weighing things up, Florencio said that he found himself at a crossroads. “On the one hand, I wanted to remain a cyclist and to exhaust all possibilities to do that, but on the other, my health was at stake.”

Fortunately, there was another option. He said that his team gave him the option to continue as a sporting director, thus remaining in the sport in another capacity.

“Analysing this option with my wife and my family, we decided not to undergo surgery, because without the operation I can have a normal life and I have a proposal on the table that motivates me,” he said. “That's why, now, I want to thank the team for the option offered to me for my future .

“It's a major change and all changes need time to adapt. But I’m more and more excited and more eager to begin, because I know I have still a lot to give to cycling and because I feel fortunate to have this opportunity.”

Florencio has been a professional since 2001, when he spent the first of three years with the Once Eroski team. He moved to Relax Fuenlabrada in 2004, then spent three years with Bouygues Telecom, starting in 2006.

He rewarded the French team for its investment in him with the Clásica de San Sebastián win, a victory which would ultimately prove to be the biggest of his career.

After two years with Cervélo, he moved to Geox TMC in 2011 and has been with Katusha for the past two seasons.

He will remain there for the foreseeable future, but exchanges his place on the saddle for a seat in the team car.



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