McEwen out of spring competition

Davitamon-Lotto sprinter Robbie McEwen has to stop racing for a few weeks. The Australian is...

Davitamon-Lotto sprinter Robbie McEwen has to stop racing for a few weeks. The Australian is suffering the revival of the 'flu that forced him to pause last month and was the reason for him not starting at Milano-Sanremo last Saturday. McEwen's primary goal is now recovering completely from his illness, and not to jeopardize his health by taking up training or racing too soon. He has therefore decided not to participate in any Spring races at all and focus on the Giro d'Italia instead.

"It's my second dose of 'flu in two months time," McEwen told Belgian newspaper Gazet van Antwerpen. "I'm tired of it. To get healthy again is now my top priority, cycling only comes second. I'll forget about my early season completely and concentrate on the Giro now.

"It's a real shame, but in my current condition I can't do anything against guys whose main objectives are the Spring classics," the Australian rider, who is currently on antibiotics, added. "I feel bad, real bad," "I can't think of training at all, let alone of competing. I might wait until mid-May to race again. After the first 'flu, I gambled and lost. I won't do that again, I've learned from it."

On VRT Teletekst, Davitamon-Lotto team manager Marc Sergeant played down the statements made by McEwen: "Robbie underwent some blood tests on Monday, because we want to know if it's just a cold or something else," said Sergeant. "McEwen was going to take a break after Waregem anyway, so he's only missing one race, it's not worse than that."

The results of the tests will be known in a few days.

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