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Zirbel sidelined with food poisoning

Tom Zirbel finished second in stage 3's TT

Tom Zirbel finished second in stage 3's TT (Image credit: Pablo Cersosimo)

By Kirsten Robbins in San Luis, Argentina

USA's Tom Zirbel (Bissell Pro Cycling) was not able to start stage five of the Tour of San Luis due to a bout of food poisoning. The American had to give up his sixth place position in the general classification.

"The sickness came on so fast that I'm thinking it had to have been food poisoning," said Zirbel. "I was throwing up a lot and it came on in the middle of the night after stage four. I've been hydrating well because its been so hot down here. It's a let down in the sense that I'm missing out on some great training and racing."

Zirbel placed second in the stage three time trial and moved into sixth place in the overall, just seconds ahead of his teammate Ben Jacques-Maynes. "In all likelihood I would have lost a chunk of time on yesterday's climb up to Merlo," said Zirbel, who plans on helping the team in the final two stages by preparing water bottles.

According to the Boulder, Colorado, native, traveling down to the Argentina was a good experience, despite his illness. "I took away some good things, the time trial being one of them," Zirbel said. "Getting the early season race jitters out of the way is helpful. When I get to the Tour of California I'll be ready. The tans lines are back and I feel like a bike racer again.

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