Germany's John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) is recovering in a Frankfurt hospital after being treated for a ping-pong ball-sized swollen lymph node in his groin. Giant already ruled him out of the World Championships team time trial, but now he could miss the road race in Ponferrada, Spain, where he was considered of the favourites for the rainbow jersey.
"I'd rather be writing you about the dazzling celebrating with my team-mates for the Vuelta a España's green jersey and four stage wins," Degenkolb wrote in Facebook. "But as life goes, good luck and bad luck sometimes come together. Nothing came from the party. Instead, I'm writing you these lines from the hospital.
"The lymph nodes in my groin were swollen almost to the size of a ping-pong ball. Finally, I could barely walk without pain. One of the scrapes was dirty, and deeper than we thought. In combination with the load at the Vuelta, an inflammation formed under the already healed skin. My body has reacted, and now I'm here."
Degenkolb sprinted to wins in Córdoba, Ronda, Logroño and A Coruña, and earned enough points for the Vuelta’s green jersey. However, a crash in stage seventh stage led to problems, a hospital visit at home and the cancellation of his participation in the team time trial with Giant-Shimano.
"John has been hospitalised to be treated with intravenous antibiotics after one of the wounds he sustained early in the Vuelta became infected," explained team medical expert Anko Boelens in a Giant press release. "The healing process was going as expected until the morning of the penultimate stage when one of the almost-healed wounds became painful again.
"Since regular antibiotics were no longer having an effect John was hospitalised. We expect him to be out in the next two days - he is already feeling a lot better and the intravenous antibiotics are having the desired effect."
Boelens explained to Cycling Weekly that the problem was not a saddle sore, but above the right thigh where it caused discomfort when Degenkolb pedalled.
Degenkolb posted photographs on Facebook with a thumbs-up, but his odds for winning the world title could be worsening. Bookmakers list Australia's Simon Gerrans as favourite, 4:1, after his two Canadian one-day race wins in Quebec and Montreal, and Degenkolb second likely to win at 6:1. Peter Sagan (Slovakia) sits at 8:1 and Mike Matthews (Australia) at 9:1.
The Worlds road race in northwest Spain covers 254.8 kilometres, 14 times on an 18.2-kilometre circuit. Each circuit around Ponferrada's northeast features two small climbs and a decent of around five kilometres to the Castile and León city. Despite his problems, Degenkolb expects to be there for the rainbow jersey win.
"I feel in good hands here at the hospital," added Degenkolb." I will stay here under observation for a few more days but I keep my goal, the World Championships, in mind."
German sprinter John Degenkolb takes bunch sprint; Alberto Contador remains in overall lead
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