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Cox and Barloworld in a spat over health problems

Team Barloworld and rider Ryan Cox have had a public spat about his health problems and the best treatment for it. Everyone seems to agree that he needs surgery, but the question is when.

The South African rider has chronic problems with his left iliac artery, which cause pains in his leg and back. Surgery can fix it. The team doctor, Doctor Mantovani, studied the results of tests, but according to Cox's website,, he is not familiar with this sort of problem.

The team recommended that he see an Italian doctor for a second opinion, Cox wrote the end of May. In the meantime he was to ride the Euskal Bizikleta and the GP Internacional CTT Correios de Portugal.

Only a few days later, he wrote on his website, "I really need the team to tell me my next step. Do I carry on racing, like this? Or do I do the operation. It's just all up in the air at the moment and not knowing my next step is quite frustrating. I hope I know soon as carrying on like this is just no good. I need a plan of action."

This did not sit well with the team, which responded on its website,, that he "has recently published information on his personal website about his health problems that are incorrect and blame the team management for the lack of proper planning of his racing programme considering the problems he is facing." The team noted that the rider and the team management had agreed that he would ride the two Iberian races and then, during the ensuing race break, undergo the surgery, if needed.

"I think the things Cox has written on his website are wrong and childish because he agreed his race programme with us," team manager Claudio Corti said. "Rather than create further problems, he should try and find out if an operation will effectively help him in the long-term. In recent races Cox has shown some good form despite complaining about pain in his left leg."

Cox reacted to this with an apology. "There has been a big misunderstanding with myself and the team," he wrote. "I have been in contact with my team throughout all my tests and I think there must have been some misunderstanding with the language barrier. My Italian is good enough to understand but not always good enough to get my point across. So I would like to apologise if anything was misread, but I was just getting my frustration across.

"We are working as a unit, me and the team, to solve this problem together. I would just like to get it sorted out as soon as possible. I will carry on racing like agreed to until we, as a team, decide when is the best time to have this operation."

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