Androni-Venezuela manager Gianni Savio has dismissed José Rujano’s claim that he abandoned the Giro d’Italia due to the effects of mononucleosis. Rujano pulled out of the race on stage 19 and last week released a statement explaining that subsequent medical tests had revealed the illness.
“While it’s not my intention to have an argument with the rider, I have to intervene since nobody can be allowed to alter the reality of the facts and cast doubt on the professionalism of those who work for our team,” Savio said, according to Tuttobici. “Rujano maintains that his Giro abandon was caused by mononucleosis, but the blood tests didn’t show mononucleosis in an acute phase, but rather traces of a previous exposure to the virus.”
Rujano had entered the Giro with high hopes after his stage victory twelve months ago, but he never made an impact in the race, and was lying over 40 minutes down on general classification when he withdrew on the road to Alpe di Pampeago. It was the second time that Rujano had stoked the ire of Savio with a Giro abandon – in 2006, he famously climbed off on the descent to La Thuile, just three kilometres from the finish.
“[Team doctor] Luca Romano confirmed that Rujano never presented any medical pathology that would prevent him from continuing in the race,” Savio said. “In fact, in every team meeting in the first 17 stages, the rider always said that he felt good, and the team always ‘sacrificed’ two riders to ride alongside the ‘captain.’”
Savio labelled Rujano’s announcement that he was now preparing for the London 2012 Olympics as “incongruous” but insisted that the rider could still redeem himself later in the campaign.
“The competitive season didn’t finish with the Giro d’Italia and Rujano can relaunch himself in the other races the team takes part in,” Savio said. “We’ll continue to provide him with all the structures necessary to allow him to express himself as best he can, without putting him under any pressure but asking him to honour the races.”