Aerts heart operation no longer needed, but retirement possible anyway
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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Aerts heart operation no longer needed, but retirement possible anyway

by VeloNation Press at 8:59 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Injury
Rhythm abnormalities deemed a nuisance rather than a danger

Mario AertsA heart operation for Mario Aerts, scheduled for yesterday, has been canceled and the rider has been told that he no longer needs the invasive treatment.

The Belgian rider has long suffered from heart rhythm irregularities and with the frequency increasing this year, he became concerned. “When I sprinted up a hill, it got worse,” he told the news agency Belga recently. “The doctors in Leuven told me that I could continue racing, but if I fainted I should report it immediately. Well, I don't want to faint on my bike when I'm riding at 60 km/h!”

Team doctor Jan Mathieu previously backed the operation, but has now concluded that it is not necessary.

“Prof. Heidbuchel has submitted Mario Aerts to an electrophysiological control. It has shown than his problems are caused by non-dangerous extrasystoles which will not take him away from sport. They are only annoying,” he wrote on the team website.

With no danger to the rider, it has been decided to leave them as they are. “Their origin is too close to the heart to take the risk of eliminating them,” he explained.

The news may increase the chance of the 36 year old being selected for this year’s Tour. He previously stated that missing the race due to the heart treatment was a big concern of his.

However Mathieu also leaves open the possibility that he could retire. “I told him that he can keep going without risk,” he said to Sporza. “But mentally it is a different matter. He is 36 now. I think Mario will consider his future in the days ahead.”

Aerts has had a solid career, with his results including victory in the 2002 Flèche Wallonne, 15th overall in the Vuelta a España, 21st in the Tour de France plus eighth in the Olympic road race in 2008.


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