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by Shane Stokes
June 21, 2014
Nine days after he was given the all clear to return to racing following biological passport investigations, Sergio Luis Henao lost the chance of winning this year’s Tour de Suisse and faces a question about riding the Tour de France.
The Colombian rider was sitting a fine fifteenth overall in the general classification standings prior to today’s time trial, 36 seconds behind the overall leader Tony Martin (Omega Pharma Quick Step), and was aiming to ride as strongly as possible against the clock prior to this weekend’s two summit finishes.
However he was hit by a car while checking out the time trial course, and has been taken to hospital for x-ray.
The outcome of that is yet to be announced by his team, but the matter is a serious complication to Henao’s aim of making Sky’s Tour de France team.
Were he to be selected and to race at full strength, he would be a valuable ally for Chris Froome. The Briton is trying to take what would be his second Tour victory.
Henao’s crash is the second setback for him this season. In March La Gazzetta dello Sport reported that the Colombian had been sidelined due to unexplained blood readings.
Team Sky responded by issuing a statement acknowledging this was the case and said that experts monitoring readings on the team had raised questions about the rider’s out of competition results at altitude.
Team Principal Dave Brailsford said the team contacted the UCI and the Cycling Anti Doping Foundation [CADF] over the matter, and that independent scientific research would be commissioned to ‘better understand the effects of prolonged periods at altitude after returning from sea level, specifically on altitude natives.’
He added that the results from the study would be made available to WADA, the UCI and the CADF.
The team announced last week that the scientific experts had concluded their ten week assessment and had given ‘the highest level of confidence in Sergio’s previous data and profiles.’
As a result he was cleared to return to competition, and began the Tour de Suisse last weekend.
Team Sky is yet to announce the result of the x-rays but as-yet unconfirmed reports state that Henao has sustained a fracture to his knee area. If that is indeed the case, the Tour would seem out of the question for this year.