Juan Antonio Flecha abandons Vuelta as team helper in coma
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Friday, September 3, 2010

Juan Antonio Flecha abandons Vuelta as team helper in coma

by Ben Atkins at 11:38 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España, World Championships
 
Spaniard becomes third Team Sky rider to be forced out with mystery stomach bug as member of staff more serious

Juan Antonio Flecha (Team Sky) has been forced to abandon the Vuelta a España, midway through today’s stage between Murcia and Orihuela. The Spanish classics specialist has become the third Team Sky rider, after John-Lee Augustyn and Ben Swift, to have been forced to abandon the Spanish Tour due to a stomach bug that has swept through the British-registered team.

"Flecha is definitely not 100% right now,” Marcus Ljungqvist, Team Sky director sportif, said yesterday. “He had a bad stomach this morning and things haven't improved a great deal as the day has worn on. He's battled on to the finish though and hopefully he'll be fit enough to continue tomorrow."

Unfortunately for the Spaniard, he started this morning’s stage but on the climb of the Hondón de los Frailes, after 127 of the 187.1km course, he dropped back to the Sky team car and the decision was taken to abandon.

Flecha’s forced abandon could put his participation in next month’s World Championships in doubt. He was included in a 21-strong list of names announced by the Spanish federation this morning, but may not recover sufficiently to make the team.

Addition:

After Team Sky announced that Flecha had abandoned, team sprinter Greg Henderson entered the following on his Twitter account:

"Keep fighting team carer Txema. He is in a very critical coma condition in Sevilla hospital. All related to @teamsky virus that swept team."

This indicates that whatever the team has been suffering from this week may be more serious than just a stomach bug.

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