By Antonio J. Salmerón
Colombian Santiago Botero has stated health problems as the reason for him not taking part this Saturday in the Clásica RCN. The 34 years-old rider is suffering an infectious virus. The Vuelta a Colombia winner, with his technician Raul Mesa, decided to not participate in the local, classic race.
The 2002 Time Trial World champion, "could not recover from an active infection – recognized as epstein barr – that began to affect him a month ago, and that had degenerated into a mononucleosis," according to the medical diagnosis of Doctor Alberto Beltrán.
Strong pains in his throat and ears, accompanied by nasal congestion were the symptoms noted by Botero, who was forced in the last week to go five days without training. "I feel a lot of pain and sadness by not being able to be in the Clásica RCN," said Botero press agency EFE. "I wanted – honestly – to recover, when I tried to return to train in these last days."
Botero will be replaced by Giovanni Chacón. Team Une Orbitel will face main rivals like Javier González, current champion of the Clásica RCN, Giovanny Báez, Juan Carlos Lopez, Oscar Alvarez, Alexander Ramirez, Héctor Mesa, Freddy Piedmont, John Martinez, Giovanni Chacón and Edwin Orozco.