Road

Diego Ulissi on forced rest for health checkups

Italian star could be sidelined going into 2021 as doctors monitor his condition.

Diego Ulissi is undergoing a forced break from competition to carry out cardiac checks related to the development of myocarditis, UAE-Team Emirates officials confirmed Monday.

The 31-year-old Italian will be sidelined possibly as long as a few months to undergo health checks and monitoring.

“Diego underwent the normal health checks required by the UCI and the team,” said team doctor Michele De Grandi. “Subjectively he was fine and did not feel any disturbance, but the finding of an irregular heartbeat during a physical exertion, not previously present, gave us some doubt. Even with a normal ultrasound appearance, two new tests (Holter ECG 24 hours, which highlighted further arrhythmias, and a cardiac MRI scan) have drawn a conclusion of myocarditis.”

Myocarditis is an inflammation of the myocardial tissue, the heart muscle, usually of viral origin. As a precaution, Ulissi will undergo a period of absolute rest for a few months, during which he will carry out in-depth investigations to further clarify the clinical picture.

Ulissi, 31, has accumulated 38 career victories to date and experienced one of the strongest years of his career with five victories, including two stage wins at the Giro d’Italia.

“I cannot hide the feeling of worry and anger. I’ve never had any sign of it, I’ve always felt good,” Ulissi said. “Fortunately, the team’s medical staff were quick to act and discovered this abnormality. I will take a break now which I hope will be temporary, bearing in mind that the priority is health because life does not end with cycling.”

Ulissi has come off one of his best seasons, with stage wins at the Giro d’Italia and a top-10 ranking in the UCI ranking.

“I was already beginning my preparation for 2021 with the desire to build on last year’s results,” he said. “Now, however, I find myself facing this unexpected situation. I think my state of mind is understandable for everyone.”