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Deignan out of Dauphine Libere

Posted 04 June 2010

Philip Deignan has pulled out of the Dauphine Libere after food poisoning disrupted his preparations for the Tour de France tune up which starts this Sunday.

Deignan told ‘Irish Pro Cycling’ that he had no alternative but to cancel his plans for the race and that he will now join Nicolas Roche (AG2R La Mondiale) on the starting line for the Tour of Switzerland.

The Cervelo Test Team rider has now recovered from the illness which forced him out of last month’s Tour of California and has returned to his Spanish base in Girona to train in the high mountains.

“I was dead for week after California. I couldn’t really get out of bed. I could hardly walk. I couldn’t eat so I lost over half a stone. It was really, really bad,” he explained.

“It was really bad food poisoning. I thought it was salmonella or e-coli. I felt it coming on the night before the final stage in California but never figured out what it was because nobody else in the team got it.

“Whatever food I had did the damage whether it was some dodgy chicken or something that wasn’t fully cooked. I’ve been trying to figure that one out since I got home to Donegal on the Tuesday after the race,” he said.

The Donegal man returned to bike training on Wednesday of this week and is hoping that the incident puts an end to the bad luck which has blighted his season.

He overcame a pre-season knee injury only to be plagued by flu which forced him to pull out of the Volta Cilista a Catalunya. The dip in form continued through to the Ardenness Classics where he withdrew from Amstel Gold and Fleche Wallonne.

Blood tests and a review of his training programme with the Sports Institute Northern Ireland during early May determined that over training and fatigue had been the cause of his undoing.

Deignan worked with Cycling Ireland high performance coach Tommy Evans to rebuild his season and his efforts were paying dividends at the Tour of California race before food poisoning halted a marked return to form.

He rode strongly in support of team sprinter Theo Bos on stage four to Modesto and joined Brett Lancaster in a group of 55 riders who survived an early split over the climb on Old Stage Road on stage five to Bakersfield.

He noticed the early symptoms of his illness after the Los Angeles time trial and was unable to start the final stage. 

“It’s an understatement to say that it’s upsetting but what can you do. It’s a nightmare but you get on with it. There’s nothing else you can do,” he said.

“I got a couple of descent days training in in Donegal in the last few days. I did three hours Thursday and three hours the day before. I felt I was getting better each day. I could have stayed home for longer but I was really missing the big climbs so I’ve come back to Girona for that,” he explained.

Deignan is confident that he can regain his condition for the Tour of Switzerland which takes place from June 12th-20th. The race is likely to play a big part in deciding whether or not he rides the Tour de France.

“It was too late for me to start the Dauphine but the Tour of Switerzland gives me another week or a little over that to get back to where I need to be. It’s a similar race to Dauphine so I’m looking forward to it,” he said. 

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