Cavendish takes early exit from Missouri

Respiratory illness sidelines Columbia-HTC sprinter

Double stage winner Mark Cavendish dropped out of the Tour of Missouri on Thursday morning after his team doctor advised him to stop racing after a respiratory infection worsened, the Columbia-HTC team announced before the start of the Tour's fourth stage.

After wearing the leader's jersey for two days and winning the first two stages, Cavendish lost the overall race lead to Cervelo's Thor Hushovd following a fifth place finish on the stage.

"He has some sort of lung infection," explained team director Tristan Hoffman. "He started to get sick before he came [to Missouri], but it's gotten worse as the days have gone on."

The team doctor advised Cavendish to stop racing, but cautioned against flying home right away. He instead was taken to Kansas City to rest. He will wait there until the team gets at the conclusion of the Tour on Sunday and then there then fly out with the team.

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