T-Mobile Cycling Team
Friday's EuroFile: Barry back after pneumonia; T-Mobile scouts Pyrenees; VDB denies suicide reports
Michael Barry couldn't figure out why he had trouble breathing nearly all spring. His doctors told him it was likely allergies or perhaps asthma.
Like professionals often do in the face of pain or setback, he kept pushing on. His breathing problems became so bad, however, he was forced to abandon the Giro d'Italia after just one stage. He finally went to see a local doctor in his European home in Girona, Spain. The diagnosis: pneumonia.
"I got really sick at Paris-Nice and I never really felt normal all spring. I had problems with my breathing," Barry told VeloNews. "It was about 10 days after the Giro. I went to the ER and they were trying to figure out what it was. I told them I had chest problems for a few months. They took X-rays. My lung was infected with pneumonia."
Instead of training and racing ahead of what Barry hoped would be his Tour de France debut next month, the T-Mobile rider spent a week in a Spanish hospital taking antibiotics to help his body to fend off the infection.
A checkup last week finally gave Barry the green light to resume training. He's building up his mileage and he's hoping to be putting in four- to five-hour rides this week to gauge his recovery from the increased efforts.
"I kept complaining that my chest was tight. The doctors thought it was just allergies or asthma. My legs felt fine, but I was just panting and had restricted breathing. I was aching a lot after I raced," Barry said. "My fitness was pretty good, all things considered. I wasn't able to race as well as I hoped."
With the Tour less than a month away, Barry still hasn't lost hope he might be able to earn a spot on the nine-man selection. The Canadian was already on the team's Tour short list before he was zapped by pneumonia.
"I am taking it day by day. We'll have to see how I recover from this," Barry said. "I feel better than I did a month or so ago, so that's a good sign. I'm not thinking too much about (the Tour) right now. I need to start training and see how it goes. I just feels really good to know what's going and why I wasn't feeling well."
T-Mobile scouts Pyrenees
While Michael Barry recovers, his T-Mobile teammates are scouting the key climbing stages for next month's Tour de France.
Five of the team's Tour riders are hitting the steep climbs along the French-Spanish borders. Michael Rogers, Kim Kirchen, Patrik Sinkewitz, Linus Gerdemann and Marcus Burghardt, along with team bosses Bob Stapleton, Rolf Aldag and Brian Holm, were based in Pau, France, during the training camp.
"We are getting the best coaching there is," said Sinkewitz, in a report on the team's web page. "A team car accompanies us with two assistants and a mechanic, who can always give us jackets or dry clothing if we get caught in the rain."
T-Mobile will enter next month's Tour trying to bounce back from a string of negative headlines involving riders from the team's heyday in the mid-1990s. This year, the team brought on scores of new riders and introduced strict new anti-doping measures to assure that the team's riders are clean.
Team manager Stapleton cautioned about having unrealistic expectations for next month's Tour. The team will focus on stage victories rather than trying to fight for the overall crown.
"Die Mannschaft is still under construction," Stapleton said. "Compared to the last few years, we have a lot of young riders in the team. That's why we are not counting on achieving spectacular results."
VDB denies suicide reports
Frank Vandenbroucke firmly denied reports he tried to commit suicide with an overdose of barbiturates. The 32-year-old beleaguered Belgian star said he checked himself into an Italian hospital because he's suffering from depression.
"What's being said is absolutely not true," Vandenbroucke told the Belgian daily Het Laatste Nieuws. "I am very depressed, that's true. Sarah (his wife) wants to leave me, now I am paying the price. But I did not try to commit suicide."
Vandenbroucke, once hailed as the next great Belgian star following his 1999 victory at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, has struggled with health problems and doping scandals for the past several years.
Team officials from his Acqua & Sapone-Mokambo squad said Vandenbroucke has been depressed over ongoing problems with his knee. An operation in February sidelined him during last month's Giro d'Italia.
Panaria confirms for Irish tour
The Ceramica Panaria-Navigare cycle team is traveling west in August to compete in the inaugural Tour of Ireland sponsored by Fáilte Ireland and organized by The Events Group in cooperation with Shadetree Sports, race organizers announced.
The team entry for Ireland won't be finalized until nearer the date but the professional continental team have some strong resources to draw from. The team has consistently performed in the top professional ranks since it was created in 1994.
Panaria have just successfully completed the Giro d'Italia (Tour of Italy) where Emanuel Sella finished in 11th place and Luis Felipe Laverde won the sixth stage. Fortunato "Lucky" Baliani had two great rides where he had made it into the key breaks in the tough mountain stages. Baliani finished in second place in the mountains competition and third in the most combative classification.
Maximiliano Richeze is the team sprinter. The 24-year-old narrowly missed out on a stage victory when he was pipped by Alessandro Petacchi in the final stage of the Giro in Milan last week. Richeze had an amazing start to the season finishing on the podium in six stages of the Tour of Langkawi, Malaysia and the team management have confirmed that he will feature in the team for the Irish tour. There are two stages that look likely to suit Richeze. Friday's Tralee to Ennis and Sunday's Athlone to Dublin stages could end up in spectacular mass sprints for the line if a breakaway group doesn't succeed.
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