(Reuters) – Italian Diego Ulissi is taking a break from cycling after being diagnosed with myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, his UAE Team Emirates said on Monday.
“Diego underwent the normal health checks required by the UCI and the team. Subjectively he was fine and did not feel any disturbance, but the finding of an irregular heartbeat during a physical exertion, not previously present, gave us some doubt,” team doctor Michele De Grandi said in a team statement.
“Even with a normal ultrasound appearance, two new tests (Holter ECG 24 hours, which highlighted further arrhythmias, and a cardiac MRI scan) have drawn a conclusion of myocarditis.”
The 31-year-old Ulissi, who has eight Giro d’Italia stage wins to his name, will therefore have to take time out from racing for several months.
“I cannot hide the feeling of worry and anger. I’ve never had any sign of it, I’ve always felt good,” said Ulissi, who finished the season in eighth place in the UCI world rankings.
“Fortunately, the team’s medical staff were quick to act and discovered this abnormality. I will take a break now which I hope will be temporary, bearing in mind that the priority is health, because life does not end with cycling.”
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)