Team Sky masseur Txema González dies, virus that swept through team apparently unrelated
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Friday, September 3, 2010

Team Sky masseur Txema González dies, virus that swept through team apparently unrelated

by Ben Atkins at 12:40 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
Unclear whether virus was a contributing factor

Txema GonzalezTxema González, a masseur and team helper at Team Sky has died after a virus has swept through the British-registered team at the Vuelta a España. The Basque, who had previously worked with the Euskaltel-Euskadi and Saunier Duval teams, has been suffering from the mysterious complaint since the start of the race.

He was taken to hospital, where his condition worsened and he lapsed into a coma.

Team Sky's Head of Medical Dr Steve Peters said in a press release, "Txema contracted a bacterial infection which entered the bloodstream and developed into sepsis. 

"The toxins from this had damaged the organs in his body and he went into septic shock and unfortunately succumbed to that.

 "I should also clarify that this bacterial infection has nothing to do with the viral infection which many of the team have suffered with in Spain, causing stomach upset."

It's not clear whether or not González had both the virus and blood infection at the time of death, but only that the two illnesses are not related.

While the suffering of the riders in the team has made the headlines, many were not made aware of the plight of González until Sky’s Greg Henderson made an entry on Twitter to say that he was in a coma in Sevilla hospital. His condition reportedly deteriorated over the last few hours and he has sadly passed away.

Almost all of the riders and staff have been affected in some way by the virus, which currently has unknown origins; John-Lee Augustyn, Ben Swift and now Juan Antonio Flecha have been forced to abandon the race.

Javier Guillén has announced that a minute’s silence will be held before the start of tomorrow’s eighth stage in Villena. Guillén referred to it as "a little tribute…He was part of the Vuelta and it is the least we can do.”

Team Sky director sportif Steven de Jongh posted his feelings to his Twitter page. “My thought's go out to all family and friends off Txema ! No words can explain our [disbelief],” he said.

All of us at VeloNation offer our condolences to the friends and family of Txema González.


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