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BMC’s Kung sidelined with Epstein-Barr Virus

The 22-year-old Swiss rider is a promising young talent who grabbed two wins during the 2015 season, his rookie year in the pro ranks.

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Switzerland’s budding star Stefan Küng (BMC Racing) will be sidelined for at least several weeks after doctors diagnosed Epstein-Barr Virus, a form of mononucleosis.

His 2016 season debut is put on hold when the highly touted 22-year-old started to feel ill during the team’s December training camp. After doctor’s confirmed the EBV diagnosis, Küng will be sidelined for at least a few more weeks, but team officials are not putting pressure on a quick return.

“There are already signs of improvement in the past week, and I’m working closely with my doctors to monitor my progress before determining when I will be able to train again,” Küng said in a team release. “At the moment, I am taking things day by day and I’m looking forward to getting back on the bike.”

Some tap Küng to be Switzerland’s most promising rider in a decade. He won the under-23 European road title in 2014 and won two races in his rookie pro season this year, including the Volta Limburg Classic and a stage at the Tour de Romandie. A solid all-rounder, he was fourth overall at the Four Days of De Panne, including second behind Bradley Wiggins in the time trial stage. In his grand tour debut at the Giro d’Italia, he crashed and suffered a compression fracture of the T9 vertebra in his back. He returned to action in August, and helped BMC defend its world team time trial title in Richmond, Virginia.

Team officials say it’s too early to tell how Küng’s illness will impact his planned start of the 2016 season.

“Our priority is to ensure that Stefan rests as much as possible, and only resumes training when he is fit and healthy to do so,” BMC’s Dr. Max Testa said. “Although the illness is not worrisome, EBV, commonly known as Glandular Fever, requires a minimum of a few weeks’ rest. BMC Racing Team and the Swiss National Cycling Team’s physicians are monitoring Stefan’s clinical improvements on a regular basis.”

BMC Racing will makes its 2016 season debut at the Santos Tour Down Under, with defending champion Rohan Dennis and newcomer Richie Porte among the starters.