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Illness turns Danielson's Vuelta on its head

Tom Danielson (Garmin-Slipstream) was one of a number of favorites to lose time to Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) today

Tom Danielson (Garmin-Slipstream) was one of a number of favorites to lose time to Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) today (Image credit: Sirotti)

Twenty four hours ago Tom Danielson looked like a possible winner of this Vuelta a España, impressing with his attacks on the final climb of stage 12. However, a stomach problem has changed everything for the American, as he lost time on stage 13 and dropped from fourth to ninth overall.

The Garmin-Slipstream rider cracked on the penultimate climb of the day, the Alto de Monachil, and eventually reached the finish line 6:59 behind the stage winner David Moncoutie (Cofidis) in 25th place.

Danielson didn't comment at the finish but later gave a brief message to Cyclingnews. "I'm upset," he said. "I hate to deal with sickness. I got through [today] and [now] onwards."

Directeur Sportif Johnny Weltz gave more details, saying that illness had affected some of those working with the team. "This morning we could see he had a problem," he said. "He was really sick, throwing up and his stomach was going crazy. Our bus driver is really ill with it, and David [Millar] also had it.

"Because of that, we had to take it a bit more conservatively from the beginning. We hoped he would come around during the stage. But at a level like this, in a hard race such as this one, it is very hard to do much about it when you have that sort of problem."

Danielson finished 5:43 behind race leader Alejandro Valverde. He previously trailed the Spaniard by 51 seconds, but is now ninth overall, 6:52 back.

"What I have seen so far with this is that it can pass quite quickly. Some of our guys in Poland also had it," he said. "One day they were really sick and then the next day they were feeling a lot better. I hope that is what happens tomorrow; that he feels much better and comes around again. The same for David [Millar] - he is a strong man and I hope he will get through it fine."

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