Updated: Infection claims life of Team Sky soigneur

Team Sky "devastated" at news of Basque soigneur's death

by Simon_MacMichael   September 3, 2010  

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UPDATED: Team Sky have this evening anounced that an infection responsible for claiming the life of 43-year-old soigneur Txema Gonzalez, who died in hospital in Seville today, is not related to the mystery illness that has swept through the squad at the Vuelta a Espana, causing three riders to abandon the race.

In a statement published this evening on the Team Sky website, Team Principal Dave Brailsford said: "We are devastated to report that Txema tragically passed away on Friday evening in hospital in Seville. His close family were with him."

The British ProTour outfit's Head of Medical, Dr Steve Peters, said: "Txema contracted a bacterial infection which entered the bloodstream and developed into sepsis.

"The toxins from this had damaged the organs in his body and he went into septic shock and unfortunately succumbed to that.

He explained that the infection which claimed the life of the soigneur was unrelated to the mystery virus that has caused three team members to abandon the Vuelta and has affected several others, saying: "I should also clarify that this bacterial infection has nothing to do with the viral infection which many of the team have suffered with in Spain, causing stomach upset."

Brailsford added: "Txema will be remembered as a warm-hearted colleague who was a joy to work with and was universally respected by our team and throughout the pro cycling scene. Our thoughts are with his family and friends."

According to a statement earlier todayon the Vuelta’s official website, "The Spanish masseur Txema Gonzalez has died in a hospital in Seville, where he was transported from virtually the start of the Tour of Spain as a result of a viral illness from which he could not recover.”

The statement said that González had worked previously worked for Euskaltel-Euskadi and Saunier Duval.

The statement continued: “Team Sky have suffered since the beginning of the race from a viral illness that has affected not only its riders, but also one of the members of the backroom staff.”

Ben Swift, John-Lee Augustyn and, today, Juan Antonio Flecha have all abandoned the race as a result of that virus, and according to the Vuelta statement, “from the beginning it was discovered that Txema was worst affected" - although it's clear from what Team Sky are now saying that the two unfortunate cases of illness are wholly unrelated.

The Vuelta organisers offered their condolences to “Txema’s many friends in the peloton and, of course, his family,” sentiments which we of course echo, and it is understood that a minute’s silence will be observed in his memory prior to the start of tomorrow’s stage.

Team Sky's Greg Henderson, who isn't racing in the Vuelta, said on Twitter: "RIP Txema. Speechless. Such a shock. Such a sad occasion. He is the nicest guy you can ever hope to meet. Thoughts go out to family."

10 user comments

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Sad news

posted by JJ the Flying D... [65 posts]
3rd September 2010 - 17:01

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Sky's masseur Txema Gonzalez passed away as a result of the virus.

Sky should pull out, out of respect as well getting riders proper medical attention

posted by wossington [11 posts]
3rd September 2010 - 17:03

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Wow, this is scary. Have they not figured out what the disease is yet? Could be something really bad, and God forbid it spread to the rest of the peloton.

posted by rcs500 [60 posts]
3rd September 2010 - 17:12

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Apologies for the picture that accompanied this piece when it first went on the site - it was supposed to be the Team Sky logo.

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [7304 posts]
3rd September 2010 - 17:14

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awful stuff, puts cycling into perspective. Pull out guys and get this sorted and I hope the rest of the vuelta will decide upon a fitting tribute for this loss.

not all carbon is the same.

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posted by Jon Burrage [1076 posts]
3rd September 2010 - 17:20

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dreadful news. my sincere condolences to his family and the team.

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posted by simonmb [360 posts]
3rd September 2010 - 17:26

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Horrible Sad

posted by simondbarnes [25 posts]
3rd September 2010 - 17:57

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The Team Sky website says his illness has nothing to do with the virus that has been affecting the team. http://www.teamsky.com/article/0,27290,19634_6356153,00.html

posted by bendt1 [34 posts]
3rd September 2010 - 18:54

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Thanks Bendt1, I was updating story as you posted that, yes, Vuelta announcement earlier appears misleading.

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [7304 posts]
3rd September 2010 - 19:06

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Just found the photo of the "Masseur" from Sky who died, it is a regret that i did not know his name without seeing the photo. So many of these "Team Support Workers" have helped me in so many ways over the years that it shames me to have to admit that even when i am talking to them at the various Grand Tours that i cannot always give them the credit they are due or respect that they deserve by using their given name!

GUYS , so many of you are due my thanks for 13 seasons of assistance both in large or small ways and it is time for a sincere thankyou now rather than later !

James Alexander is always in my thoughts for the help and friendship that he gave me uring many years, his not appearing some years ago caused me to enquire and i learned he died of a heart attack in malaysia, many fans will recall his cheerful approach to his job as a Team Pullman Driver !

Skippy(advocate for "Disabled / Para Sport")@skippydetour. blogging as skippi-cyclist.blogspot & Parrabuddy.blogspot currently on the road with ProTour Grand Tour Events .

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posted by skippy [367 posts]
10th September 2010 - 20:40

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