American rider Tom Danielson (Garmin-Slipstream) is recovering from the illness which saw him lose time on stages 13 and 14 of the Vuelta a España and is feeling confident that he can ride strongly in the remaining stages. Danielson, who will lead the United States of America team at the World Championships, had reported stomach problems on Saturday but confirmed on stage 15 that he also had a chest complaint.
“Today was better, I am recovering,” he told Cyclingnews at the finish in Córdoba. “I am a little bit hoarse, it got it my lungs a little bit. I had a stomach problem and something like a flu thing that hit me.
“I am getting through it…I am really happy,” he added. “My legs were better today than they were yesterday and the day before. I am starting to get my energy back.”
Danielson has been riding well for much of the race and looked set to improve on his fourth place in the general classification after an impressive, aggressive performance on Friday’s stage to the Alto de Velefique. Although he didn’t take time out of race leader Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d’Eparnge), he appeared to be one of the strongest on the climb and expected to make general classification progress on the remaining mountain stages in the south of Spain.
Instead he became ill and lost time on the two following stages. He dropped to ninth overall, eight minutes 28 seconds behind Valverde, but vowed today to try something in the days ahead.
“I still have ambitions in this race,” he said, looking far more upbeat than on Saturday and Sunday. “I am ninth overall. Obviously top 10 is really good, but I will still try to improve on that.”
Danielson won a stage and finished sixth overall in the 2006 edition of the race, but then suffered a broken shoulder one year later. That prefaced a run of health issues including intestinal parasites which he has now clearly recovered from. In fact reflecting on his performances in this race before he got sick, he judges that he is riding at a level above his 2006 form.
“I am better than before…I am better than I have been in my whole career,” he said. “There is no way I would have been able to race like this before.”
Danielson also confirmed that he will stay with Garmin Slipstream. “After Burgos [where he won a stage and was third overall], I signed for two more years with the team,” he said.
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