Alex Thomson unlikely to compete in Barcelona World Race
At a press conference held this afternoon Alex Thomson Racing MD Stuart Hosford said: “This morning I took Alex to the Tecknon Clinic here in Barcelona. He was in very good health, but he had a pain in his stomach. He was diagnosed this morning with acute appendicitis. He has been diagnosed by our friends at the Clinica Tecknon. He has undergone surgery, which is now complete.”
Dr Francesc Bonet, Medical Director of the Barcelona World Race, who also runs the private Tecknon Clinic that is linked to the race, added that the Hugo Boss skipper had felt some bad pain in his lower stomach yesterday. He had recommended that Thomson visit his clinic this morning. “We proceeded with a CT scan and some medical procedures and hopefully the diagnosis was done very early and the surgery was done two hours afterwards. He is recovering well and we performed a laparoscopy to extract the appendix. The diagnosis was confirmed by the surgeon and Alex is now recovering well in our hospital.”
There were quips among the IMOCA 60 fraternity here that Alex had been suffered from a phantom pregnancy - inconveniently his girlfriend Kate is due to give birth to a child two days after the Barcelona World Race is due to start. However an appendicitis is no small issue. “For me I would like to say that even though we are disappointed we are also very happy that this happened today and that this did not in the middle of the ocean, because then it could have been very very serious,” added Hosford.
So the burning question is how will Hugo Boss proceed? “What we intend to do with regards to the race - I would like you to give me some time. We have our team here this evening and we will discuss with the race organisers and will discuss amongst our team what our plan will be and we will have a press conference here at 1300 tomorrow to announce what the Alex Thomson Racing intention is regarding the Barcelona World Race.
“I’d like to thank the medical guys here. They have been really fantastic both from the race organisers, Dr Bonet, and the guys at the clinic Tecknon as well as Spike Briggs in the UK.”
Sir Keith Mills, Alex Thomson’s mentor and business guardian is currently in Barcelona and presumably will be part of the decision-making process. Clearly the options are that Thomson recovers and does the race, he is replaced or Hugo Boss pulls out of the Barcelona World Race.
As to option a) Hosford said: “Right now he has undergone surgery with two days to go until the start of the race. I would say it is highly improbable that he will be starting the race.”
Dr Bonet wouldn’t be drawn on his prognosis. In 24 hours we can see. After one hour is impossible to say any prognosis about that. He is in good health in general. What surprised us was the extremely good health of these athletes, which is not the same recovery as say me for example.”
In terms of a replacement for Thomson to join co-skipper Andy Meiklejohn on board Hugo Boss – this is thought most likely to be Dutch navigator and weather expert Wouter Verbraak, who is in Barcelona working on race start weather strategy for the team.