• Roger Kluge at the 2019 Tour de France (Getty)Source: Getty
Roger Kluge who piloted Aussie Caleb Ewan to victories at the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia this season has revealed he suffered a stroke in 2018 and had heart surgery last month to reduce further risk, he told German publication Moz.
Cycling Central

18 Nov 2019 - 5:48 PM  UPDATED 18 Nov 2019 - 6:04 PM

On the eve of the spring classics last season, Kluge went to wipe his daughter's nose and noticed his arm drop. 

"I could not control it," he told Moz. "It was scary. It was over after 30 seconds." 

The German had a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or mild stroke. He still travelled to Belgium the next day for his first race of the European spring for Mitchelton-Scott but was sent to hospital instead where he underwent a range of tests.

"I came to the hospital for three days for a permanent ECG, blood tests, etc. I was ready to go cycling and was in hospital surrounded by people who were really sick."

The clot in his brain was detected but he was otherwise cleared to race two weeks later and participated in Paris- Roubaix.

While he has not experienced any TIAs since, the Lotto Soudal medical team this year urged him to get surgery for a heart defect - an open foramen ovale (PFO) or, small hole between the two atria of the heart - to reduce the risk of further strokes. Kluge has known about the defect for a number of years. 

"The operation has gone well. I can hide that and feel no difference," he said. 

Kluge is now on the mend and while he finished down towards the bottom of the results sheet at the UCI Track World Cup in Glasgow earlier this month, he finished third with fellow madison world champion Theo Reinhardt at the Six Days of Gent in Belgium on the weekend