Belgian champion abandons race with fever
Philippe Gilbert will not complete Tirreno-Adriatico, as the BMC rider had to abandon the Italian stage race overnight. A light fever, which appeared on Sunday evening, has forced Gilbert to remain at the hotel on Monday morning as his teammates left to take the start of the penultimate stage to Offida.
"Gilbert has 38.2°C fever," a team spokesperson told Het Nieuwsblad. "The fever came up yesterday about one hour after the stage finish. he also has a head and throat ache. Perhaps it is a virus. This Tirreno is really hard, the riders have raced more than 28 hours in four days. Philippe was probably already fighting the illness for a couple of days."
Out of precaution and in view of next week-end's Milan-San Remo, team management chose not to let him take to the start again. "He wanted to race, but we didn't want to take any risks. On Saturday, there is Milan-San Remo and that race is of course much more important."
'The race between the two seas' was far from a success for the Classics specialist, whose placing was 84th behind overall leader Chris Horner (RadioShack-Nissan) as he pulled out. Gilbert was unable to repeat his 2011 feat when he won a stage at the event, and even had to let his teammates go in the opening team time trial.
Other non-starters of stage six on Monday included Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky), who had won stage three, and Matt Goss (GreenEdge), the first overall leader of the 2012 event before Horner took aver the reigns on Saturday.
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