By Shane Stokes
Navigators Insurance professional Ciarán Power is recovering after he underwent surgery last Tuesday week in France in order to correct a long-running injury. Power was recently told that the leg problem, which cropped up after he finished 13th in the 2004 Olympic Games road race in Athens, was a trapped nerve issue. However further test showed conclusively that an earlier diagnosis of endofibrosis was correct, a blood flow obstruction in his external iliac artery leading to the symptoms of numbness and a loss of power.
"It turns out it was a vascular problem after all," said Power before the operation. "I had a test done here which showed a lesion in the artery. I will be in hospital for a week."
Speaking at the Tour de Langkawi, Navigators manager Ed Beamon told said that it has been a frustrating experience for Power and the team. "Mid-season, we were pretty convinced that [endofibrosis] was what the problem was. Then when Ciarán went back to Ireland they started doing other things and switched the whole thing around on him. He went to see one specialist and this guy was convinced that it was a nerve passage thing. So it is very frustrating.
"He originally went home to have the vascular operation in October. It is crazy. They [the doctors] switched the whole thing around and now it is the start of the season and he has had to get it done now. We had him pretty focused and motivated for the early spring stuff but that's out the window.
"The diagnosis has gone back to endofibrosis now. It is a vascular problem, in other words. He had three or four different tests in the past week to absolutely affirm that is what it is and to pinpoint the exact location.
"It is better that we know unequivocally that this is what it is, and that the operation is what they have to do. [Stuart] O'Grady had a similar operation a couple of years ago, to widen an artery. It will take three months for him to get back to training hard. He actually had a pretty good winter until he got sidetracked, so at least he has got some base to fall back on. I think if he recovers well, he could be back on the bike in two months."
Beamon says that the new team program will play in Power's favour. "We are going to have a more aggressive [European] campaign in the second half of the year than in recent years, so hopefully at the very least he can be back in April and May and be a go-to guy in the second half."