A numb leg knocked American Larry Warbasse out of the Giro d’Italia on Friday. He was the seventh rider to abandon the Italian tour.
“I was stretching a few days ago and I lost some feeling in my leg,” he told VeloNews on Friday, speaking from a hospital in Geneva. “It was really weird. I don’t really know how it happened. I just kinda felt my leg go to sleep. Unfortunately, it never really woke up.
“I don’t know how you fix it, or where it’s coming from,” he said.
The numbness began on the evening of the Monday’s rest day and has not yet been diagnosed. Warbasse, 25, rode through the numbness for most of the week. In the end, his team doctors made the call to withdraw him from the race as a precautionary measure.
“I really have no clue, but it’s something with the nerves,” he said. “The doctor made the call. They wanted me to stop. Unfortunately. I mean, I understand where the doctor was coming from, he didn’t want to take any risks, and really potentially damage myself.”
Friday, May 13th was doubly bad for IAM which also lost its sprinter Matteo Pelucchi at the end of stage 6 Thursday. The Italian missed the time cut, at the top of the Roccaraso mountaintop finish, by 46 seconds.
Warbasse was riding in his first Giro d’Italia as part of a stage-hungry IAM Cycling squad. He came into the race with imperfect form but said his legs were steadily improving before the numbness began.
“It got slightly better, the day after rest day. But I couldn’t feel my foot in my shoe, so I was riding with one and a half legs. Not ideal,” he said.
He was flown on Friday morning to University Hospital in Geneva for testing and scans. When VeloNews caught up with him, he had just finished an MRI.
“I have to be thankful that the team was looking out for me in the way they are,” he said. “They have a partnership with University Hospital in Geneva. That’s pretty cool that I get totally top care. I’m seeing the best doctors.”
He said he doesn’t fear for his career or his season.
“I’m more just disappointed because I had to stop the race. You never want to stop the race,” he said. “I was looking forward to the Giro for so long. It kinda sucks.”