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Supportive Carla ready to whisk husband Nicolas off to the Riviera after his collapse

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After spending Sunday night in a miltary hospital, Nicolas Sarkozy left the facility saying he felt fine. The presidential couple will now take a three-week holiday Photo: © Rex

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Friends of the French president say a gruelling exercise regime - began shortly after he got together with Carla - may be behind his collapse
 

28 JULY 2009

With his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy by his side, France's president Nicolas Sarkozy left a military hospital where he'd spent the night after collapsing during one of his regular jogging sessions.

Following a series of cardiovascular tests the 54-year-old politician was given the all clear by doctors on Monday.

He left the hospital saying: "I feel fine," as Carla thanked the "wonderful" medical staff for their work.

A spokesperson for the Elysee Palace said that 45 minutes of "intense physical exercise" was to blame for the episode. It was added that the president would now take a few days off to rest.

And a relaxing holiday is exactly what the keen runner and cyclist can look forward to. Later this week he will begin a three-week long holiday on Thursday with his wife at her sumptuous villa on the French Riviera in Cap Negre.

Upon his return, Nicolas is expected to cut down on his gruelling exercise regime.

Friends of the French leader suggest the recent incident is due, in part, to the diet and fitness makeover he embarked on following his 2008 marriage to Carla - 13 years his junior - which has proved too much.

The first lady is thought to be behind her husband's svelte transformation ahead of his 2012 second-term bid.

As well as encouraging him to cut out cheese, chocolate and puddings, she introduced him to her personal trainer who has helped Nicolas shed around 9lbs and two trouser sizes.

"Recently the president has looked very honed," said MP and close friend Patrick Balkany. "He looks more like a Tour de France rider than a president."

"The president is going to have to take more care, work a little less and eat a little bit more."

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