Jasper Philipsen has abandoned the Vuelta a España due to illness, with his Alpecin-Fenix team saying the Belgian sprinter was suffering with a mild fever and left the Spanish Grand Tour "so as not to jeopardize the rest of his season".
Philipsen won stages 2 and 5 at the Vuelta a España and has become Fabio Jakobsen’s main rival in the other sprint finishes, finishing third on stage 8. He was also second in the points competition behind Jakobsen but did not line up for the start of stage 11 on Wednesday.
"Very, very disappointed but I need to leave the Vuelta earlier than I thought," Philipsen wrote on social media.
"I have some mild fever symptoms and the decision was taken with the team management and medical staff to withdraw.
"It was a successful Vuelta with two stage wins and five days in the green jersey. But I will come back for more."
Three further stages are expected to suit the sprinters but the second half of the Vuelta is packed with mountains and ends with a time trial stage in Santiago de Compostela rather than the traditional sprint stage in the centre of Madrid.
Philipsen has had a successful 2021 season after moving from UAE Team Emirates to Alpecin-Fenix. He won Scheldeprijs in the spring, beating Sam Bennett and Mark Cavendish, then finished second in three sprints at the Tour de France and third in three others.
Under UCI rules, Philipsen cannot compete in other races while the Vuelta a España continues unless the Spanish organisers give permission.
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