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Steels out with urinary tract problems

Belgian champion Tom Steels had a bad start to the Giro because of a urinary tract infection, and was forced to abandon after 65 km of stage 3. "It was bad for a few days already, I am in a lot of pain," Steels was quoted by VRT as saying. "The infection is healing very slowly."

In Monday's second stage, Steels lost three minutes, after spending a lot of time near the front of the bunch protected by the chasing train. "Then I could stay out of the wind and it was flat," he said. "On Tuesday, the batteries hadn't recharged."

Steels has had a better start to the season this year, with four wins to his credit already, and was looking forward to the Giro. "I was going well again and then you come up against this. You can't do anything about it. It was a small miracle that the doctor brought me to the start of the Giro. It's a shame, because the Giro was one of my main goals of the season."

Steels added that he didn't think he would ride the Tour de France. "It is not on my program and I will need two or three weeks to recover. And that is too short for the Tour.

Christophe Detilloux (Francaise des Jeux) also abandoned the Giro in stage three after suffering from a right knee inflammation.