Gilbert leaves Tour of California early

New baby coming sooner than expected

World champion Philippe Gilbert will not be able to take part in the remainder of the 2013 Tour of California as he has to head home to welcome his family's newest addition, a bit sooner than expected.

"My wife is going to have our baby sooner than the delivery date," Gilbert said in a press release. "So it's an exciting reason and very important for me to be there."

Gilbert was still looking for his first victory in the rainbow jersey, but had no luck during his first foray in the United States. He struggled in the heat on the first stage, yo-yoing off the back of the main bunch after the final climb before giving in and losing nine minutes. On the second stage he was involved in a crash with Saxo-Tinkoff's Jonathan Cantwell, but was relatively unscathed and ready to help his younger teammate Tejay van Garderen fight for the overall victory.

Van Garderen is currently second overall, 12 seconds off the race leader Janier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman).

"It's a little bit sad to leave because I think Tejay is going to win this race," Gilbert said, adding that he enjoyed his time in California.

"I always have problems with the jet lag and differences of temperature but it was a nice race," he said. "The roads were nice – different than Europe of course, with very big roads – and the organization was fine."

Author: Cycling News

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