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After a hot start at the Giro d’Italia, Colombian star struggled in the second half of the Italian grand tour and took a long break as team doctors tried to get a handle on Chaves’s condition. He only returned to training this week, and team officials confirmed Chaves, third in the 2016 Vuelta, might not race again this season.
“It’s been a hard period,” said Chaves, 28. “Since 2012 I haven’t been off the bike this long … It was not fast like you want. In this sport, we are used to answers and results coming fast and this process was slow and the time can make you crazy.”
After extensive testing, doctors diagnosed with a number of viruses, including mononucleosis (also known as Epstein-Barr or Glandular Fever), along with sinus and allergy reactions. Doctors also said Chaves underwent “minor nasal surgery.”
“After a period of rest and treatment for the viruses, Esteban was cleared for minor sinus surgery before undertaking a final recovery period,” said Manuel Rodriguez, a doctor at Mitchelton-Scott. “We are confident that the treatments have been successful and it is safe for Esteban to return to training but to prevent the reoccurrence of symptoms we will monitor his health without a deadline to return to racing.”
Team officials left the door open for a possible return to racing before the end of 2018 but only “determined by careful consideration of his progress.”
“I’m happy to be back on the bike,” Chaves said. “It still hurts for sure, but I can already feel some differences; it’s a different suffering than I had before. Now it’s the normal suffering we get when starting again after such a long time off training. We are on the right path again and we have to keep patience and confidence like always.”