By Shane Stokes
Former Tour de France maillot jaune Victor Hugo Peña has been finding it hard this year for his Unibet.com team. He found out why during stage six of the Tour de Suisse, the day he went on the attack with René Weissinger (Volksbank).
"I was trying to show myself during the stage," he told Cyclingnews the following day. "At the moment, this is not my best year. I found out yesterday that I have a virus so I will try to get it sorted out and start again.
"At least I know what is wrong. All year I have felt empty, no energy. I have been training and taking the same care of myself as in the other years but I never had any condition.
"Now we have to talk to the doctor to discuss what to do. I don't know how long it will take to sort it out...it could take a few days or a bit longer. But I would like to do a good end of season."
The Colombian would have ideally liked to have hit form for the Tour of Spain. However that's not going to happen, as organisers Unipublic recently decided to go back on the spirit of their March 5 agreement with the UCI and have not given the team a wildcard.
"I am very disappointed by what happened with the Vuelta," Peña said. "I think now that cycling is more like a business, it is losing the sporting side. We just have to keep racing. We feel really disappointed, we feel like they are saying, 'we have no interest in you.' Yet we have good riders, a good team, and at the moment we are second in the teams competition here [in the Tour de Suisse, a position they kept until the end]. It is like they don't see us."
He believes it is clear that his team are pawns in the battle between the Grand Tour organisers and the UCI over the ProTour. "I think there is a pact between them, the big organisers. They want to win the fight. I think they are the strongest, they have the money. And we have nothing.
"For the moment I have to focus on my recovery. I hope the organisers and UCI can sort it out for cycling. They are big guys but they are acting like children."