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Gutiérrez hopes for better luck in 2012 with gluten-free diet

2011 Tour de France stage 5
Gutierrez leads a break at the Tour de France. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

José Ivan Gutiérrez — the three-time Spanish national time trial champion on Movistar — says he wants to forget his winless 2011 season as soon as possible.

The 33-year-old struggled with health problems all season and didn’t notch a win.

“2011 was my worst season for sure,” Gutiérrez said Monday. “I have been feeling bad physically and mentally throughout most of the season, which didn’t allow me to obtain the results that I expected.”

Gutiérrez, who won back-to-back Eneco tours in 2007-08 and the Spanish national road title in 2010, underwent extensive health screenings in September to try to figure out what was keeping him from performing.

“I am suffering from celiac disease, which means that I have to follow a gluten-free diet,” he said. “Now that I eliminated products such as wheat and oats, I feel perfect again. It was something very simple, but the hard part was figuring out what it was.”

Gutiérrez, who will continue with Movistar next season, says he will open his 2012 campaign at the Tour Down Under and hopes to be back in top shape, especially for the time trials. In 2005, he won the silver medal in the world time trial championship.

“Now that I know what was ailing me, I feel very motivated for next season,” he said. “I want to win a stage as soon as possible and to return to my best level for the time trials. I want to help my team in the Tour de France and enter the Olympics in London with the national team.”

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