Elevated haematocrit forces Etxebarria to rest

David Etxebarria has been forced to sit out the Bicicleta Vasca race starting on Tuesday after his h

David Etxebarria has been forced to sit out the Bicicleta Vasca race starting on Tuesday after his h
Two-time Tour de France stage-winner David Etxebarria has been forced to miss the Bicicleta Vasca race which starts today after his haematocrit level was analysed and found to me more than the 50 per cent limit allowed for competition by the UCI. The Euskaltel rider was one of the favourites for the event, which takes place in his and his team's Basque Country home. Etxebarria will now have to abstain from racing for 15 days, when a further haematocrit test will be carried out. Assuming his level is then back below 50 per cent, the Basque will be able to return to racing and prepare for the Tour de France. Euskaltel team manager Julian Gorospe has responded quickly to the news about Etxebarria. He told Spanish website Todociclismo.com on Tuesday morning: "He was just a little bit over the limit and will not be able to ride (the Bicicleta Vasca). It's a nuisance because although it is not a positive test, the news is certain to create a lot of speculation because people always think the worst." Gorospe attempted to play down any speculation by revealing Etxebarria's recent health problems. "David Etxebarria has had stomach problems since (Saturday's) GP Llodio. He's had bad diarrhoea and arrived this morning for the race very dehydrated, which led to an elevated haematocrit level," Gorospe explained.
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