Zubeldia and Hondo withdraw due to illness
For Trek Factory Racing Stage 2 of the Tour of Catalunya saw Danilo Hondo fail to start due to acute bronchitis and sinusitis while Haimar Zubeldia, who started the race sick yesterday, attempted to make it through the day but lasted only 20km before succumbing to the sickness.
It was to get worse for the team as Giacomo Nizzolo crashed hard in the latter stages of the stage but was able to continue while Julián Arredondo started the day with stomach issues.
The team still managed to get the job done in protecting the leader of the race, Robert Kiserlovski, to ensure he didn't lose any time before today's decisive stage three.
"We are not the only team dealing with this sickness: one from Sky, GreenEdge, and Wanty [Group-Gobert]; there are a lot of guys sick. On top of this there are also stomach problems going around, and Julián was not feeling well at the start. Then Giacomo crashed with 20km to go. He finished, but we have to assess yet how he is. His shoulder is fine though," sport director Alain Gallopin said on the team website.
"The rest of the team was okay. Robert looks good, and Julián finished and lost a little time at the end but that should not affect much, so we will see tomorrow. I hope the weather will be okay, and the team stays healthy.
"With only six riders, this does not change much for us. In the mountains even alone you can win, you just need to follow. You have Sky with [Chris] Froome, Tinkoff with [Alberto] Contador, Movistar with [Nairo] Quintana, and Katusha with [Joaquim] Rodriguez - we do not have the responsibility of the race.
"Honestly, I just need two or three strong guys with Robert to help him obtain a top 10 result. This is the focus for the rest of the week."
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