Italian Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo) has been forced to take an early break from racing after being diagnosed with toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection that can be contracted through undercooked meat or cat feces.
According to his team, Felline was first diagnosed with the infection last July at the Tour de France, and has continued to not feel his best even after ending last season prematurely.
Gaetano Daniele, head of medicine for Trek-Segafredo, said they decided to do new blood tests on Felline after he showed erratic form this spring. "[The tests] showed evidence that Fabio still has not completely recovered from the toxoplasmosis he suffered from last year. We took the advice of a couple infectiologists, experts in this field, and will start a specific treatment that will last for six weeks and that will hopefully permit to eradicate this parasite once and for all."
Felline will be unable to race until after the treatment is complete, and hopes that he can come back stronger.
"I am so frustrated and sad not to be able to take the start in the Ardennes Classics," Felline said. "Since I had to leave the Tour last year, I never found my level back that I had in the first part of the 2017 season. In the end, it seems that I have been struggling with this same, very stubborn parasite.
"I will be out of competition until the end of May. Unfortunately, it's not the first time in my career that I have to fight back after setback, but I am motivated and will work hard to be back on my level as soon as possible and to come back even stronger than before."