Silence-Lotto's captain Philippe Gilbert dropped out of yesterday's fifth stage of Paris-Nice, adding to his team's poor start to the year. His abandonment is the latest blow that has seen the Belgian outfit have their worst start in 12 years, with zero wins.
Going into the stage, the 26-year-old Belgian was in 65th place, 5:55 behind leader Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step).
The team said that Gilbert would undergo medical examinations to see what is wrong with him. According to Belgian television VRT, team manager Henrik Redant said that the team did not know what the problem was. "Perhaps there is something wrong, but we must look into it," he said.
Gilbert was targeting Milano-Sanremo on March 21, a race in which he last year finished third.
"There is still more than a week to go," Redant said. "With our doctors and masseurs we must try to get him ready for next week."
Team doctor Jan Mathieu said that lactate seems to be gathering in his legs, and that massage is not helping get rid of it. "Philippe is not sick and has not been extremely tired. And his condition is OK," he told Het Laatste Nieuws.
Gilbert, meanwhile, was not terribly concerned. "I am not really worried. Why should I be? There are more races to come." (SW)