Like Paolo Savoldelli in last week's Tour de Romandie, 2005 Tour de France stage 8 winner Pieter Weening has struggled with illness over the past few weeks, and has found it hard to gain a little early-season form. He finished a disappointing 81st overall at the Tour of Romandie, more than 36 minutes behind winner Cadel Evans.
That worries Rabobank team manager Adri van Houwelingen more than the Weening himself. "The performances of Pieter weren't really what he and the team had expected," said van Houwelingen. And that's worrying, especially for himself."
Weening countered that claim, and said that, "You can quickly assume that my spring [preparation] has failed a bit, because this part of the season for me only depends on a few races." He explained that his form is progressing, and things aren't as dire as they seem. "But look at how I was later in the spring; at Amstel Gold Race I had a bad day, but by the Fleche Wallonne I finished in the first 25, which is normally good. And during Liege-Bastogne-Liege, I got an appalling sickness in my stomach - I had diarrhoea and was feeling really down."
"With this type of sickness, I didn't go to Romandie in the best shape," he continued. "If you're days and nights are spent sitting on the toilet, then it's logical you aren't going to ride well," he explained.
Weening won stage 8 into Gérardmer during last year's Tour the France, then followed that with a stage win and second overall in the Tour of Poland, but for van Houwelingen, the past few lacklustre weeks have prompted him to think of the cause of Weening's poor results. "You get this sometimes...has his training technique, for instance, been any different to last year? Pieter posted a big win last year in the Tour, but he's not content just with that win, and certainly hasn't trained any less," he said.
"The body is not a computer," said the Dutchman, adding that, "I now have time to rest a bit which can repair the body, which is good. I will probably ride at the end of the month in the Tour of Luxembourg, and after that hopefully the Tour de Suisse."