Vuelta a España: Illness hits Team Sky as John-Lee Augustyn and Ben Swift abandon
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Monday, August 30, 2010

Vuelta a España: Illness hits Team Sky as John-Lee Augustyn and Ben Swift abandon

by Ben Atkins at 3:07 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España, Injury
 
British team struck as two abandon and two struggle through

john-lee augustynA digestive illness has struck Team Sky in the first week of the Vuelta a España and has forced climber John-Lee Augstyn and sprinter Ben Swift to abandon the race. Augustyn, faced with another stifling hot day on the bike, climbed off in the early kilometres of today’s 157.3km stage between Marbella and Málaga, while Swift managed to last around 100km before giving up.

"Ben had even said he felt great yesterday,” said Sky’s team principle Dave Brailsford of the young British sprinter, who finished seventh in the sprint finish. “It just came on during the night; they had fevers and were throwing up everywhere.

"John-Lee had literally just started the race today but couldn't ride his bike anymore,” he said of the South African. “It was 36 degrees again and if you are trying to race hard in this heat when you're not right it's an absolute nightmare.”

As well as the two riders to have abandoned, breakaway specialist Simon Gerrans and Peter Kennaugh, the team’s youngest rider, have also been suffering from the illness. Both riders managed to finish the stage, although both lost 25 minutes and Kennaugh was the last to finish.

What could have caused the illness is a mystery to Brailsford.

"It's affected the staff and riders but we've all but ruled out food poisoning," he explained. "The riders eat completely different meals to the staff so it's a strange one because everyone is vigilant with the hand gels and sterilising things thoroughly.

"It could account for a lot really because we had some staff in Seville who weren't great, so whether they've picked up something from them, who knows."

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