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Movistar loses three at the Vuelta; ‘Purito’ loses points jersey

2011 Vuelta a España, stage 17
While three of his Movistar teammates left the race, Pablo Lastras was active in a breakaway on Wednesday. Photo: Graham Watson | www.grahamwatson.com

PENA CABARGA, Spain (VN) — Movistar lost three riders Wednesday as a stomach flu wiped out the team; meanwhile injury derailed Purito Rodrîguez in the final week of the Vuelta a España.

Riders woke up vomiting and with diarrhea. David Lopez and Ignatas Konovalovas abandoned the race early and the team’s best-placed GC man, who started 13th overall, Sergio Pardilla, later abandoned as well.

Only three riders remain unaffected by the virus that’s also affecting the team’s staff. Pablo Lastras went on the attack early before Marzio Bruseghin and Benat Intxausti finished top-10 in the stage.

“Since this morning, some riders and some team staff members suffer from gastroenteritis likely due to food poisoning,” said Movistar team doctor Jesus Hoyos. “Some of them were feeling bad already since early in the morning, while others like Madrazo started feeling wrong during the stage, though in these virus, the incubation terms may vary, and it might not affect everyone. The symptoms are similar: vomit, diarrhea and severe headache.”

Katusha, meanwhile, pulled most of the day to try to set up Rodríguez and Dani Moreno for the stage victory, but “Purito” struggled early on the final climb and crossed the line 23rd.

That was enough to cost Rodríguez, who crashed heavily in Tuesday’s stage, the points jersey that he’s held since stage 8.

“I was afraid I was going to have a hard time and I had to really suffer. The pain caused by the crash yesterday and the accumulated fatigue during the entire Vuelta didn’t allow me to be up higher,” Rodriguez said. “Maybe I could have been a little better today if I hadn’t crashed, but the truth it I haven’t been with the best the past couple of days anyway.”

Bauke Mollema (Rabobank), who crossed the line third, grabbed the green points jersey with 101 points. Juanjo Cobo (Geox-TMC) slots into second with 92 and Rodriguez dropped to third with 90.

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