Masciarelli quits Astana over health problems

Italian Francesco Masciarelli has ended his season and his contract with the Astana team after discovering he suffers from a benign tumor on the pituitary gland in his brain, according to

The 26-year-old has not raced since the Tour Down Under, and after visiting with several doctors, he was diagnosed with a microadenoma - a condition present in 0.1 percent of the population which can impact, among others, the growth and thyroid hormones that are important for physical fitness and recovery.

Masciarelli said, "When I put my body under physical strain, it suffers too much stress because the hormones do not work as they should and it causes a failure. I consulted several doctors and thanks to the collaboration of doctors in the center of the Olympic Committee (CONI) we are trying to find a solution to this unfortunate situation."

Masciarelli started his professional career in 2007 with the Acqua e Sapone squad, winning the Tour of Japan in his first season and the Giro del Lazio in 2008. He was 16th overall in the Giro d'Italia in 2009 and won the Mont Faron stage of the Tour Méditerranéen in 2010 before switching to Astana.

Because there is no plan yet for treatment, Masciarelli does not know when or if he can return to competition. "I think this season is over now, considering my condition and my inability to compete. Along with managers and staff at Astana, I terminated my contract with the team. I did not want to be a burden for those who gave me confidence and have been very sympathetic towards me in this situation."

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1