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Bradley Wiggins (Sky) at the head of the peloton.
Pauwels to replace ill Sky captain for Spanish race
Bradley Wiggins has been forced out of this week's Tour of Catalunya due to a stomach infection. Despite his illness, the Briton's Sky team is confident the disruption to his race programme will not affect his preparation for the 2010 Tour de France.
"Unfortunately, Bradley wasn't able to race in Spain this week, but we’re going to assess the situation quickly and adjust his race programme so that nothing is jeopardized," said Sky's Principal Dave Brailsford.
Wiggins, 29, has shown strong condition this season, including third overall at the Tour of Murcia earlier this month. While Sky are yet to indicate when he will return to competition, Brailsford said he didn't expect the team's major hope for a high overall finish at the Tour de France to face a long period on the sidelines.
"He has already proven this year that he is well on his way form-wise so we’ll be able to get him back into our race programme fairly easy. It’s not uncommon that riders have to struggle with illness at this part of the season, but luckily Bradley has already been able to build up a lot form, so this won’t be a setback," said Brailsford.
Belgian Serge Pauwels has replaced Wiggins in Sky's line-up for the Tour of Catalunya.