TOP motorcycle rider and favourite to take the win in the women’s category at this years grueling Dakar Rally Laia Sanz has revealed her personal battle with Lyme Disease.
The 35-year-old Barcelona native took to Twitter to reveal her struggle in the lead up to this weekends 12 day event that takes place in the desert of Saudi Arabia.
“At first I did not know what it was. After confinement I began to have a lot of headaches and migraines when I do not suffer from those and the lymph nodes in my neck are very swollen,” said the 18-time world champion.
“They did a scan but everything on my head was fine, but the severe pain was unbearable.”
Sanz described in a 30 minute interview with sports outlet Marca that she initially believed that it was an infection that stemmed from toothache, but she began to feel dizzy and tired during training.
Eventually Sanz turned to her neurologist in fear that the symptoms were related to sclerosis.
During the examinations the doctor noticed a wound on her leg, and began scanning for Lyme Disease, a blood disease related to tick bites.
“I live in the countryside, and last month we had an infestation of ticks on our animals, but I had no idea that I had been bit,” said Sanz.
“I have now been on antibiotics for a month, with different treatments and I feel much better, but it has been quite annoying.”
Sanz is currently in her final preparations for her eleventh Dakar and her first returning to the Red Bull KTM team after a year on the Gas Gas Factory squad.
Her battle with Lyme is also not the first time Sanz’s preparations have been hit with medical complications.
Last year, Sanz impressed everyone after a 12 month battle with Epstein-Barr virus and Q-fever left her bed ridden for the majority of 2019.
“I was unable to leave my home, it was the worst time in my life.” said Sanz.
Sanz would go on to ride to an incredible twelfth position overall and another win in the female category.
The 2020 edition, the first in Saudi Arabia, was also hit after the tragic death of her partner Paulo Goncalves at the same event.
The 40-year-old Portuguese rider took a heavy crash at 276 kilometres and was found by fellow riders, unconscious, lying in the sand.