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Armstrong questionable for Flanders

Lance Armstrong could be forced to skip his first major one-day race of the season following his early departure from Paris-Nice due to a fever, according to his Discovery team boss, Johan Bruyneel. Bruyneel told Belgian newspaper La Derniere Heure that Armstrong's participation in the April 3 Tour of Flanders was at least compromised. "Lance's program is sure to change. We will have to just wait and see when he is ready to compete again. His participation in the Tour of Flanders is compromised, but nothing is certain." Armstrong, 33, pulled out of Paris-Nice, the first race of the

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By Agence France Presse

Lance Armstrong could be forced to skip his first major one-day race of the season following his early departure from Paris-Nice due to a fever, according to his Discovery team boss, Johan Bruyneel.

Bruyneel told Belgian newspaper La Derniere Heure that Armstrong’s participation in the April 3 Tour of Flanders was at least compromised.

“Lance’s program is sure to change. We will have to just wait and see when he is ready to compete again. His participation in the Tour of Flanders is compromised, but nothing is certain.”

Armstrong, 33, pulled out of Paris-Nice, the first race of the UCI’s new ProTour series, after Wednesday’s stage, complaining of flu-like symptoms, including fever and a sore throat. He returned home to Girona, Spain, saying that he planned “to rest up and be back on the bike in a couple of days.”

It is not known when the six-time Tour de France winner will return to competition, but Bruyneel hinted that it may be at the non-ProTour Catalan Week stage race March 21-25 or at one of the Belgian or French one-day races.

“It wouldn’t have been wise to continue (in Paris-Nice),” Bruyneel said. “He has to wait a day or two until he feels better and then I hope he will be able to start training again. It’s better for him to train than to compete when sick.”

Bruyneel said the latest setback was giving the team no concern in its preparations for a seventh consecutive Tour de France victory, given that Armstrong’s main rivals are in the early stages of their own preparation.

“I don’t think it’s a problem. When Lance applies himself to the job, he progresses quickly. What is good is that he is now in Europe. His style of life here is very different to his everyday life over in the States.

“And of all of the so-called favorites for the Tour, none of them seems to me to be in a better position. (Jan) Ullrich, (Roberto) Heras, (Ivan) Basso and (Iban) Mayo haven’t raced yet.”