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Hesjedal recovering

VANCOUVER -- Canadian cyclist Ryder Hesjedal is recovering from a respiratory tract infection that forced him to pull out of the Giro d'Italia.

Hesjedal's Garmin-Sharp team revealed Tuesday that the Victoria native developed an upper respiratory tract infection during the race, which he won in 2012. He has returned to his home in Girona, Spain since pulling out on Friday.

The team said Hesjedal entered the race in very good physical form, but was still vulnerable to illness. His effort in the Stage-8 time trial, combined with further efforts in rainy and cold conditions, stressed his immune system and made him susceptible to contracting the infection.

He completed the ninth and 10th stages, but his suffering continued and he pulled out before the 11th stage. At the time, he sat in 38th place overall, more than 32 minutes behind the leader.

The team said it was virtually impossible for him to continue competing, because the condition would have worsened.

"It appears that Ryder had been exposed to the virus affecting many in the peloton during the first week of racing," said team physician Phil Stawski in a news release.

"Secondary to his outstanding form and conditioning, the more typical symptoms did not manifest until later. However, the effect on his body and performance was already occurring.

"His effort during the (time trial) and in the cold and wet conditions continued to impact his body's ability to fight the infection, and he ultimately succumbed. The only option to prevent the worsening of his condition was to stop racing and allow him to recover."

Hesjedal is expected to be able to resume training in about a week. He plans to compete in Switzerland's Tour de Suisse, to be held June 8-16.

"It's hard to watch the Giro from home and not be there with my team. ... (But) The team's been great with helping me," said Hesjedal in the news release. "I appreciate all the support."

Murray out of French Open

LONDON -- Andy Murray withdrew from the French Open on Tuesday because of a chronic back injury and will now focus on preparing for the start of the grass-court season next month.

The U.S. Open champion met with specialists this week after being forced to pull out of his second-match against Marcel Granollers of Spain at the Italian Open last Wednesday because of the long-standing complaint.

"It's a really tough decision and I love playing in Paris, but after seeking medical advice I am not fit to compete," Murray said in a statement. "Apologies to the organizers and thanks to everyone for the messages of support. Now my complete focus is on getting back on the court as soon as possible."

The French Open, the second Grand Slam tournament of the year, starts Sunday at Roland Garros.

Bobcats to be Hornets

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Bobcats owner Michael Jordan is changing his team's name to the Charlotte Hornets.

Jordan said at a Tuesday press conference he has informed the league of his decision and is optimistic the NBA board of governors will approve the name change when they convene in July.

Charlotte will remain the Bobcats next season, but if all goes as planned Jordan anticipates his team will become the Hornets for the start of the 2014-15 season.

Jordan said his organization is just giving the fans what they want.

"We spoke to our season ticket holders and fans, and overwhelmingly you guys wanted Hornets name back," Jordan said. "And we went out and brought the name back."

NBA deputy commissioner and COO Adam Silver previously said it would take about 18 months for the Bobcats to change their name, but pointed out the fact that the league owns the rights to the name Hornets could help speed up the transition process.

-- from the news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 22, 2013 C13

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