Bradley McGee will not be defending his individual pursuit title at next week’s world track championships after suffering from suspected hypoglycemia in the Tour de France.
The Australian, who wore the yellow jersey for the first three stages of the Tour after winning the prologue, is to have tests immediately after Sunday’s finish to establish the reasons behind the attacks, which drain him of all energy.
“I do not feel in good enough shape to go straight from the Tour de France to the world championships on Monday,” said the 27-year-old McGee. “I prefer not to go because I am certain that I will get beaten and I do not see the point. I’m therefore going to take the tests which were scheduled for after the world championships immediately (after the Tour).”
McGee’s worst bout of hypoglycemia came during the grueling eighth stage to L’Alpe d’Huez, where he only just avoided being eliminated after finishing among the final riders.
“You feel like you want to pass out to escape it, and any athlete, runner or bike rider, can tell you they’ve had a hunger flat, and it’s probably the worst feeling you can have, but I can have it 40km into a race,” McGee said after Thursday’s 17th stage from Dax to Bordeaux. “Then you’re just legless for an hour or an hour and a half till the energy comes back.”
McGee’s FDJeux.com team doctor, Gerard Guillaume, said: “We think it is hypoglycemia but we are not sure. For a long time we thought it was a problem with eating while on his bike, but as the problem has gone on, it must be something else.
“I hope we will get to the bottom of these attacks so that we can quickly find a solution to the problem.”
The world track championships take place in the German city of Stuttgart for five days from July 30. The championships were originally to be held in China but were moved in May due to fears over the deadly SARS virus.
Russian cyclists celebrate 120th anniversary
While the cycling world has been focused on the centenary edition of the Tour de France, Russian cyclists celebrated their own anniversary on Thursday.
According to the archives of the Russian Cycling Federation (RCF), the country’s first competition was held in Moscow 120 years ago to the day, on July 24, 1883.
“We would have liked to send our team to compete in the Tour, especially since we have some really good young cyclists around,” RCF president Alexander Gusyatnikov told reporters.
“Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to find a wealthy Russian oligarch, our own (Roman) Abramovich to sponsor the team,” he added, referring to the new Chelsea owner, who this month bought the English premier league club with a cash offer valued at nearly 60 million pounds ($100 million).
Russia has five cyclists competing in this year’s Tour de France, with Denis Menchov leading the standings for the best young rider (under-25) category by more than 40 minutes.