Shorts: Crake; Axelsson cancer; ContractsClose
Crake out of intensive care; Axelsson operated on for testicular cancer; Contract news: Pollack, LjuPIC BY TDWSPORT.COM Australian cyclist Paul Crake has been transferred from Christchurch Hospital to the Spinal Unit of the Burwood Hospital in Christchurch, New Zealand to continue his recovery from spinal surgery. He will stay there until doctors give him the all-clear to travel back to Australia for admission to a specialist spinal care unit. Crake was one of five cyclists blown off the road by a powerful wind gust during stage 8 of the Tour of Southland on Saturday, November 11. He sustained minor fractures to the C1 and C2 cervical vertebrae, a fracture to the T5 thoracic vertebrae and dislocations from T5 down to T7. Last week surgeons operated to insert a surgical rod and screws into his thoracic spine and graft bone from his hip into the spinal area to stabilise and realign his spine. Crake is paralysed from the waist down, and faces several months of rehabilitation. People wishing to send messages of support to him can do so via email through the Cycling Australia website www.cycling.org.au or by mail to: Paul Crake Patient Spinal Unit - Burwood Hospital Cnr Mairehau & Burwood Roads Burwood Christchurch 8083 New Zealand Axelsson operated on for testicular cancer Swedish cyclist Niklas Axelsson (Selle Italia) has been operated on for testicular cancer. The 34 year-old was diagnosed with a tumour after a routine medical checkup in Nice, France. He underwent surgery to remove it, and the cancer has reportedly not spread to the rest of his body. "I hope I will be able to pursue my career as usual," he was quoted by Swedish newspaper Falu-Kuriren as saying. "The priority is to recover from all this but it takes patience and I shall not go back to cycling too early." Axelsson has had a chequered career as a cyclist. After turning pro in 1998 with Scrigno, he stayed with that team as it became Navigare and then Panaria. In 1999, he finished sixth overall in the Giro d'Italia, and in 2000 he was an unlucky third in the Giro di Lombardia. In 2001, Axelsson signed for the ill-fated Mercury-Viatel team. He had no results of note until he won a stage in the Tour de la Region Wallonne in August. Then, when the team ran out of money, he joined Alessio for the remainder of 2001. A fourth place in the GP Fourmies and a ninth in the Giro di Lombardia were promising, but he failed a drug test for EPO at the world championships. Axelsson admitted using EPO, saying that he was under pressure to get results. He was initially given a four year ban by the Swedish federation, but this was later reduced to two years and eight months. He returned to racing in late 2004 with the Formaggi Pinzolo Fiav team, then switched to Team Universal Caff (2005) and Selle Italia this year. His best result since his comeback has been second place in the Giro di Romagna this year. Contract news German sprinter Olaf Pollack is leaving T-Mobile for Wiesenhof. He has a one year deal with the German team, where he will be joined by Jorg Ludewig (ex-T-Mobile) and Daniel Musiol (ex-Milram). Sweden's Jonas Ljungblad has renewed his deal with Unibet.com for the next two years. Ljungblad has had a consistent season this year, winning a stage and finishing fourth overall in the Tour of Luxembourg, and scoring top 10 finishes in several French races. Iker Flores has a deal with the new and still somewhat theoretical Fuerteventura-Canarias team. The team, based out of the Canary Islands, has not been recognised by the Spanish cycling federation. It will be directed by Oscar Guerrero, but has also been linked with former Comunidad Valenciana manager Vicente Belda, and brother and sister act Eufemiano and Yolanda Fuentes. Operaci¢n Puerto aside, it seems that many of the sponsors that have been named by the team have no idea that they are putting money into the team. David Blanco will not be riding for the Karpin Galicia team next season. The Spaniard, who raced for Comunidad Valenciana this year and won the Volta a Portugal, cited "personal reasons" for his decision. In a statement, Blanco explained that he had reached an agreement with Karpin Galicia to rescind his contract, and all parties were satisfied.