Horner, Seeldraeyers and gobbling antibiotics

Horner, legs but no lungs.

Horner, legs but no lungs.

In today’s Velonews, Kevin Seeldraeyers details how taking too many antibiotics basically destroyed his immune system, failed to help him recover and sidetracked his career for several years. “The problem for me was that the last few years I was always sick,” Seeldraeyers told VeloNews. “Maybe five or six times per year and the doctors said I had no more resistance in my body because I used antibiotics too much over the last five years.” This story reminds Twisted Spoke of old man Chris Horner who this week announced he’s still suffering from lung problems he first got the Tour de France last year. Like several other riders, he got bronchitis and began what turned out to be three rounds of antibiotics. That crushed his cortisol levels so low that his Lampre squad was forced to heed MPCC guidelines and prevent him from riding to defend his Vuelta a Espana crown. It was a sad year for the Smiler and in the aftermath, the only ride he could score with so little race days and results was a development team funded by Airgas-Safeway. That tale of woe sounds very similar to the one Seeldraeyers is now telling. “Every year I just took more and more antibiotics and my resistance in the body just went away.” He dropped out of several WorldTour teams but he’s back riding for a second tier squad and has sworn off antibiotics. Instead of getting sick six times a year, he’s only come down with a cold once. Now play that against what Horner said at last year’s Tour of the Gila after dumping that third round of pharmaceuticals into his system. “From 10 days before the Tour until now, I’m sure there’s been some kind of antibiotics in my system the whole time. So whatever I got I can’t seem to clear up.” said Horner. “Not a good idea to race your bike in the Tour de France and then come here and still try and get healthy.” By all accounts, he still isn’t healthy a year later. Also in the medical mix is the punctured lung he got when a car nearly killed him in a tunnel near Lake Como. This isn’t just a cautionary narrative about antibiotics. He has mucus in his lungs that shuts him down when he has to push over 300 watts. “It’s the same problem I had in the Tour that I have now, just not as extreme,” said Horner this week. Horner is also 43 years old and trying to out-climb pros half his age. There are plenty of complications to the issue. Still, we wonder what kind of condition Horner’s immune system is in these days. And after he gets the test results back from his lung test, what will the doctors recommend? Hopefully, rest and perhaps retirement, not another round of useless antibiotics.

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