In a season in which he’s made the headlines more for personal disappointments than sporting highlights, former world champion Thor Hushovd has now been forced to call it quits to his 2012 season with persisting illness.
Thor (Hushovd) is out of the world championships. He will not take part in any more races this year, that is certain after his stay in the US.
Mononucleosis, a viral infection that often results in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), has plagued the Norwegian for the duration of this year, keeping him out of the Giro d’Italia, the Tour de France and making him surrender his Olympic dreams.
Now it has ended any chance of him redeeming a frustrating year.
With an ever-growing list of palmares, the 2010 world champion’s first season with BMC Racing was much anticipated, however he is been unable to fulfil that promise.
Hushovd’s pedigree is indisputable having won stages in all three Grand Tours and the Tour de France points classification twice.
After winning the world championships in 2010 in Geelong, Hushovd ensured he did justice to the title in 2011. Riding for Garmin-Cervelo he stole the show at the Tour de France, winning two stages and swapping the rainbow rings for the yellow leader’s jersey for a week of the Tour.
But his 2012 early season has lacked the punch usually synonymous with the God of Thunder. Fifth in a stage of Paris-Nice still sits as his best result of the season.
In what was an ill-conceived move in hindsight, the sprinter was included as an integral part of BMC’s Giro d’Italia roster only to pull out on stage six.
“After the Giro, he was diagnosed with a viral infection that was holding him back since the beginning of the season. This is mononucleosis or a similar disease…we don’t know exactly when he will be recovered,” said Hushovd’s coach, Atle Kvålsvoll.
After visiting the US to undergo extensive medical testing, Kvålsvoll admitted that with no timeline on the Norwegian’s recovery, the only course of action was to pull the pin on his season.
“Thor (Hushovd) is out of the world championships. He will not take part in any more races this year, that is certain after his stay in the US,” he told newspaper Fædrelandsvennen.
“He has received some answers, but they are waiting for more results. BMC must respond to the information.”
Despite 2012 being a season-to-forget, Kvålsvoll is convinced that Hushovd still has many victories to come.
“These circumstances will make Thor is much stronger in 2013.”
Hushovd is now back at his base in Monaco where he will take the rest of the season off to recover fully before beginning his build up for the 2013 season.
Several big names have been affected by mononucleosis in the past, notably Australian Michael Rogers who has suffered several bouts of the debilitating illness, and Dane Michael Rasmussen.
Rogers had a forgettable 2011 as a result of the most recent bout of ‘mono’ before turning things around admirably with Team Sky this year.