Sir Dave Brailsford has revealed he recently underwent treatment for prostate cancer after being diagnosed earlier this year.
The Team Ineos boss has explained how he received a call in February from his doctor, telling him that a regular blood test had returned an irregularity.
After further scans, Brailsford learned of the seriousness of his cancer diagnosis on the eve of the Tour de France, the biggest race on the calendar for him and the British WorldTour team he leads.
In an interview with The Times newspaper, the 55-year-old gave details of the five-hour operation he underwent three weeks ago, and how the diagnosis has changed his perception.
Brailsford, who founded Team Ineos (then Sky Procycling) in 2010, said: “There’s bound to be fear.
“It’s the great unknown. I think I’m resilient, tough, I can put up with a lot but in hospital one day I was overwhelmed to be honest.”
Brailsford received a call from his doctor in February to alert him that a quarterly blood test showed he had a raised level of prostate-specific antigen, which can be an indicator of prostate cancer, which combined with spells of chronic fatigue set alarm bells ringing.
He then underwent a transperineal biopsy, a test to look for cancer cells, on the Monday before the start of the Tour de France in July, which confirmed the diagnosis.
Brailsford added: “I’m thinking ‘this is just a hassle. I’m too busy’. Luckily I have a brilliant doctor who put his foot down.
“I try to be matter-of-fact, analytical about things. That wasn’t possible then.”
During the Tour de France, which was won by Team Ineos’s Colombian revelation Egan Bernal, Brailsford was researching the disease in the thorough and analytical way that has made him a totem in sport.
After the Tour, Brailsford then underwent surgery in Birmingham last month, an open prostectomy, with surgeons making a five-inch incision in the abdomen to remove the prostate.
He is expected to find out whether the operation was fully successful this week.