A statement from Team Sky on their website confirmed the news, with Team Sky’s Doctor Richard Freeman stating: "Unfortunately Chris has been suffering from a mild chest infection. After an examination this morning we concluded that the best course of action would be to withdraw him from Liege-Bastogne-Liege as a precautionary measure, which will allow him the best chance of recovery ahead of the Tour de Romandie."
Team Sky's Pete Kennaugh could not take part in Liege-Bastogne-Liege the team said in the same statement, whilst Vasil Kiriyenka is a late withdrawal from the Tour of Romandie, which starts on Tuesday, also because of an unspecified illness.
Froome's non-participation in Liege-Bastogne-Liege, in which he finished 36th last year, means he has had to pull out of two races in 2014 because of health issues. He did not take part in Tirreno-Adriatico because of a back injury.
Sky have had several riders fall ill this season and have started several races one or more riders short of a complete participation, with six, rather than eight, in La Fleche Wallonne and again in LIege-Bastogne-Liege.
Team Principal Dave Brailsford talked to a small group of reporters at the start of the Belgian Classic, pointing out that; "When you actually analyse and look at all of the illnesses and crashes we've had this year, we've had proportionally more than you’d expect to have and when you look at the last couple of years, we've had proportionally less than you’d expect to have. It’s like we've saved them all up and had them at once…."
"We've also got [Jonathan] Tiernan-Locke who's not racing, Sergio and his cousin [Sebastian] who've gone back to Colombia, CJ [Sutton] had a nasty crash and had a hole in his knee, Chris is ill, Pete is ill, and before you know it, it's the Tour of Romandie next week and the Tour of California right after that [and] you can't start chopping and changing too much."
Brailsford said with a smile 'I hope so!' when asked if Sky would have a full team for the Tour of Romandie, before confirming that was the case and that Froome would be on the start-line for that race. "That's the reason we took him out today [from LBL], just to make sure he was ok."
"He probably could have started [Liege-Bastogne-Liege], but he probably wouldn't have got rid of what he's got. So you've got to make some calls really."
Asked about Kennaugh and what was wrong with him, Brailsford said "he's just feeling empty, you know, he's been feeling that for the last few days and when somebody's like that there's no point in pushing on. You've got to cut your losses and get him right."
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Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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