Arnaud De Lie diagnosed with Lyme disease

Rising star of Belgian cycling had been struggling for form and forced to scrap the remainder of his Classics campaign

Clock13:16, Thursday 28th March 2024
Arnaud De Lie struggled at Gent-Wevelgem and was pulled from the rest of the Classics

© Getty Images

Arnaud De Lie struggled at Gent-Wevelgem and was pulled from the rest of the Classics

Lotto Dstny rider Arnaud De Lie has been diagnosed with Lyme disease after pulling out from his Spring Classics campaign due to illness.

From the start of the 2024 season, De Lie had looked to be on the back foot and struggling to find the form with which he shot to prominence in the previous two years. In a statement from the team after Gent-Wevelgem, it was announced that De Lie would be taking some time away from racing to rest and recover ahead of the second half of the season.

At the time, the team attributed De Lie’s difficult start to the season to a bout of sickness picked up at an altitude camp and subsequently a crash at Le Samyn, which saw him make an early exit from Paris-Nice.

However, on Thursday morning the team issued an update on the situation, revealing that De Lie had been diagnosed with Lyme disease, a bacterial infection.

The official statement from the team read: “After a further check-up, Arnaud De Lie was diagnosed with Lyme disease after having found antibodies for Lyme in his blood.

“It's possible, as a Lyme diagnosis is never 100% conclusive, the reason why De Lie couldn't perform on a high level the past races.

"Treatment with antibiotics has been started, speedy recovery Arnaud.”

The team confirmed to Cycling Weekly that doctors treating De Lie believe a recent tick bite is likely the source of the illness. According to the UK's NHS website, Lyme disease can present itself with “a circular or oval shape rash around a tick bite”.

Symptoms of Lyme disease also include a high temperature, or feeling hot and shivery, headache, muscle and joint pain, tiredness and loss of energy. With the news of De Lie’s diagnosis, it is retrospectively apparent that his struggle to find form ahead of the Classics could be a result of this.

Lyme Disease is typically treated with a course of antibiotics for up to 28 days depending on the severity of the illness. Exactly how De Lie’s calendar will look for the remainder of the 2024 season will depend largely on his recovery and return to form.

Lotto Dstny team manager Stéphane Heulot told Het Nieuwsblad ahead of De Lie’s diagnosis: "We are not talking about the Tour de France yet, we are just working towards his next race. Arnaud must now first complete a good training block to be physically and mentally back at the start of his next races.

"Of course, he is disappointed, that goes without saying. But he is strong enough to get over this."

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