After a season that yielded so much early promise, Fabio Felline has had to call an end to his 2017 campaign due to illness. Felline has been battling with a parasite since the summer and it has led to a series of abandons in the latter half of the year.
According to a press release from the Trek-Segafredo team, Felline was diagnosed with toxoplasmosis during the Tour de France, which led to his subsequent abandon. Toxoplasmosis is a common parasitic infection but can be hard to detect. The team and doctors thought that Felline had managed to shake the illness after some rest and he went back to racing. However, Felline could sense that there was still something not quite right.
"I can train hard, that's not the problem, but it takes me two or three days to recover from an intensive effort and that's not normal. In the races I have done after the Tour, I felt immediately I could not go as deep as I wanted and after the races I always felt really weak," Felline explained.
In order to allow him to get back to full health ahead of the new season, the team has opted to bring an end to the Italian's season.
"A new blood test confirmed Felline's body is still fighting against the parasite," said team doctor Nino Daniele. "The only thing he can do now is rest, rest and rest. So the best thing was to take him off the roster for the next races and to end his season to give his body the chance to recover completely."
Felline's season got off to an impressive start with a win at the Trofeo Laigueglia and fourth at Omloop Het Niewsblad. His Omloop performance led to a proper Classics campaign, but he also proved a key support rider for Alberto Contador in the early-season stage races. He took a surprise victory in the Tour de Romandie prologue and finished second and seventh in the Italian national time trial and road race, respectively. He earned selection for his second ever Tour de France, but departed the race on stage 14 and has not managed any notable results since then.
"Of course, I would have preferred to end the season in a better way," said Felline. "I had a good first part of the season, and I wanted to confirm my good shape with some results in the second part as well. Unfortunately, my body decided otherwise.
"Now I will take a long rest and I hope to heal up quickly because I have my mind set on 2018 already. I hope I can start preparing the next season as soon as possible. I have proven in the past I could come back stronger after an injury and I will do that again."