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GRINDELWALD, Switzerland (AFP) – Australian Allan Davis’s hopes for a place on Astana’s Tour de France squad suffered a setback when he pulled out of the Tour of Switzerland prior to the race’s third stage Monday.
Sprint specialist Davis lined up for the nine-stage race in a bid to top up his condition prior to the Tour de France, although he admitted last Friday his place in the July 2-25 epic was “not guaranteed”.
A 7.3 km time trial kicked the race off Saturday and it hit the mountains immediately on Sunday’s second stage, after which many non-climbers finished over 17 minutes adrift of stage winner Juan Mauricio Soler of Colombia.
Davis was last over the finish line in Crans-Montana Sunday, the Aussie trailing home 23 minutes, 59 seconds behind Soler, and over a minute behind New Zealander Greg Henderson.
He told AFP by phone Monday: “I just woke up feeling crook.
“Yesterday (Sunday) I felt it coming on and by the time I got to the start of the stage it was clear I couldn’t race.
“It was quite an easy decision really.”
Davis ruled out a cold and said he had no fever but believes he is suffering from a stomach virus, and complained of a sore throat and body aches.
With the Tour de France less than three weeks away, and Astana managers recently leaning towards favoring their native Kazakhstani riders, Davis admitted it wasn’t ideal preparation for the world’s biggest race.
“It is a bit of a setback, but it’s something that is out of my control. I will just have to weather the storm and get through it,” he added.
Queenslander Davis said he is likely to return home to his European base in Spain’s Basque country on Tuesday.