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CUSSET, France (AFP) — Former world champion Philippe Gilbert pulled out of Paris-Nice Wednesday because of a respiratory infection.
“I really love this race so it is disappointing to have to stop racing,” the 33-year-old said in a BMC Racing statement. Gilbert captured the world road race title in 2012.
“But I have one of my biggest goals for the season, Milan-San Remo, around the corner and in order to perform well there I need to fully recover from this illness and be in the best shape possible.”
“Phil’s condition is nothing to be overly concerned about, however the cold weather and snow that we saw in the opening prologue and first two stages of the race have done nothing but aggravate his condition,” team doctor Dario Spinelli reported.
Gilbert has yet to win Milano-Sanremo, scheduled for March 19, in 12 attempts.
The multiple classics winner was 104th overall, 4:40 behind Australian Michael Matthews, ahead of Wednesday’s third stage between Cusset and Beaujolais.