Almost a year after being diagnosed, Benat Intxausti’s battle with mononucleosis continues. The Spaniard has spent nine months without a race - his last race was the Tour de Pologne in July 2016 - and there is no end in sight for him.
Team Sky told Cyclingnews that Inxtausti is able to train but he is not able to push himself too hard and no return date has been decided. Last month, Intxausti wrote on his personal website, “I don’t know if it will be May or in June, if everything goes well. For now, there are no dates nor objectives.”
Intxausti had a strong start to last season with third at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana in February, but things quickly began unravelling. He was forced to miss his following races and a month later, it was confirmed that he had mononucleosis. His main goal of the Giro d’Italia fell by the wayside and he would remain out of action until the Tour de Slovenie in June. He completed that and went on to the Tour de Pologne in July but abandoned on stage 3. That would be the last he raced in 2016, as the virus had returned.
In November, believing that he was through the worst, Intxausti was looking to the future with a more positive outlook. He embarked upon his training programme, with the hope that he could put his annus horribilis behind him. Intxausti rode a couple of cyclo-cross races in Spain in order to get some competition under his belt but he would find himself sidelined once again as the mononucleosis hit him for the third time.
Intxausti is working with the team’s doctors to try and bring himself back to full health. Mononucleosis generally clears up within a month or two but some cases can drag on much longer, with symptoms recurring after it is believed the initial illness has gone. There is no predetermined treatment for mononucleosis, but bed rest is generally advised and medication can be given to treat the symptoms.
Four months into the 2017 season, Intxausti is playing the waiting game. His frustration will be made all the more acute with the knowledge that his contract is up for renewal at the end of the season and with just 15 days of competition so far during his time with Team Sky he will want to put in some good results before the year is up.
Team Sky declined to comment on Intxausti’s contract but said that they are giving him their full support while he makes his recovery.