Carlos Betancur is suffering with the citalomegavirus and so will not return to Europe in time to compete in this year's Tour de France according to his mentor and Colombian national coach Franco Gini.
In a interview with the Italian Velobike website, Gini said that Betancur is currently unable to travel due to the virus but is expected to return to his European base in Tuscany in two weeks time, where he will prepare for the Vuelta a Espana and world road race championships. Gini returned on Wednesday from Colombia where he spent time with Betancur.
Betancur was a surprise winner of Paris-Nice in March but last raced at Flèche Wallonne in April and returned to Colombia after skipping Liège-Bastogne-Liège because of bronchitis. The 24-year-old was due to return to France on June 3 and his Ag2r-La Mondiale team had made plans for him to renew his working visa in Chambéry two days later. A member of the team's staff was duly delegated to collect Betancur from Lyon airport on June 3 but the rider never showed up. When contacted by directeur sportif Laurent Biondi, Betancur reportedly said that he was tired and would not line up at the Tour de Suisse as originally planned.
Gini played down reports of a tension between Betancur and the French team but confirmed that Betancur will not ride the Tour de France.
"I saw and him and spoke to him in Colombia. He's got the cytomegalovirus," Gini told Velobike in an audio interview in Italian.
"He's working to resolve the problem and has recently spent four days in hospital. But he's not in the condition to race at the moment. He doesn’t want to race with the virus because he doesn't perform poorly. It sparks a temperature three or four times and day and leaves him tired."
Gini said that Betancur had not gone missing without informing the team, explaining he would spent July in Tuscany training with his coach Michele Bartoli.
"He's spoken to the team and his agent has spoken to the team. I think he's in the right place for the best treatment but he's not able to race. It seems that they've reached an agreement that he arrives here in about 15 days and then prepares for the Vuelta a Espana instead of the Tour de France," Gini said.
"I'm sure that he's such a huge talent that the team won't want to give up on him."