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Illness sweeps through Paris-Nice peloton

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American Taylor Phinney (Team BMC)

American Taylor Phinney (Team BMC) (Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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Adam Hansen (Lotto Belisol) on the offensive on day one of the Tour of Qatar.

Adam Hansen (Lotto Belisol) on the offensive on day one of the Tour of Qatar. (Image credit: ASO)
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Jan Bakelants ( Radioshack Nissan)

Jan Bakelants ( Radioshack Nissan) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Joost Posthuma (Leopard Trek)

Joost Posthuma (Leopard Trek) (Image credit: Sirotti)

Andy Schleck (RadioShack - Nissan) was the first man down with a stomach bug at Paris-Nice, but plenty of others have now followed suit with five riders unable to start Stage 4 on Wednesday.

RadioShack-Nissan is now severely depleted with Jan Bakelants and Joost Posthuma forced to abandon. According to the team website, Bakelants was ill throughout Tuesday evening and it was never a consideration for him to begin the stage. Posthuma was in the same boat however his condition appeared to improve at breakfast and wanted to be on the start line. His condition then deteriorated en route to the stage depart.

American Taylor Phinney (BMC) was also forced out while teammate Thor Hushovd was able to continue despite also having a bad stomach.

"Woke up at 2:30am and threw up everything I ate yesterday... Seems to be a stomach bug going around at this race," Phinney said on Twitter.

Lotto-Belisol rallied impressively after losing both Adam Hansen and Olivier Kaisen with Gianni Meersman claiming the stage win. Hansen is suffering from a bronchial infection with the Australian expressing his frustration to be leaving the race with Milan – San Remo on the horizon.

"Ive gone from bad 2 worse," he said via his Twitter feed. "This isnt good @ all. Im actually really disappointed. Must be in top form on the 17th next week."

Kaisen was just as frustrated, saying: "It's really not my habit to give up but there it was no longer much point in continuing."