Benoît Vaugrenard was the first rider out of the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe-Pays de Loire on Tuesday as he suffered gastroenteritis and couldn’t ride longer than 50 kilometres into stage one.
"He caught the virus on Saturday and had felt better on Sunday, but last night he couldn’t eat at all and not much this morning either," said Française des Jeux directeur sportif Thierry Bricaud.
Vaugrenard had a flying start to the 2010 season, winning stage one at the Tour of the Algarve and finishing second in stage four of Tirreno-Adriatico. He confirmed his good form last week by finishing third at the Route Adélie and has been preparing for a strong performance in the Ardennes Classic where he did well last year. In 2009, he was the first Frenchman in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, which he finished in eighth position.
"He has really fallen in love with the Classics and I believe this is what he’s the best at," said Française des Jeux team manager Marc Madiot of the 2007 French individual time trial champion.
Vaugrenard, who has raced four Tours de France, has never found himself particularly at ease at his home Grand Tour, but has recorded better results in the early and latter portions of his eight seasons as a professional. He won the GP of Isbergues in September last year.
"I still believe he can recover for the Ardennes Classics, especially Liège-Bastogne-Liège," Bricaud added. "It's the most suitable for his characteristics and that’s in two and a half weeks from now. Benoît is very serious with his training at home."