‘I was falling apart' - Stannard forced into retirement
CYCLING WEEKLY|November 12, 2020
Classics-conquering Brit talks to Vern Pitt about his career-ending rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis
Vern Pitt

He is one of the hardest, grittiest riders there is,” said Ineos Grenadiers team principal Dave Brailsford last week as he paid tribute to former British champion Ian Stannard, as he was forced to retire.

Just how gritty wasn’t apparent to the public but Stannard has been training and racing with the great pain of rheumatoid arthritis for more than a year.

“I did Paris-Roubaix last year and after that, my wrists were super-sore, which is kind of normal but it just never really got better,” the Ineos Grenadier told CW last week. “I changed bikes thinking maybe my position wasn’t right, I just need to get to the end of the season. My wrists just got sorer and sorer and were swollen. I kind of ignored it to the point where at the end of the Vuelta I had to have an operation on both my wrists.”

That operation to drain fluid from his wrists and help clean up his tendons coincided with a test for the marker of rheumatoid arthritis in his blood which showed he had the autoimmune disease where the body attacks the joints.

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