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Rodriguez pulls out of Volta ao Algarve with illness

Katusha's Joaquim Rodríguez withdraws from Volta ao Algarve on stage 2, suffering from an illness he's had since the race began.

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Spanish veteran Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha) pulled out of stage 2 of the Volta ao Algarve due to illness. He was already feeling ill before the start of the five-day race, skipping a press conference Tuesday because he was under the weather.

Rodríguez made it through stage 1, but decided to pull out of Thursday’s hillier stage, and not risk becoming more ill ahead of the spring classics season.

“It’s not a worry,” Rodríguez was quoted on biciciclismo.com. “The intention was to continue to follow the training plan, but I felt pretty bad during the second stage, and we opted to pull out. Now I am only thinking about recovering, and returning to training.”

Rodríguez, 36, opened his season at the Volta a Valenciana earlier this month, but came down with a cold ahead of the Portuguese tour. He said he doesn’t want to take any chances ahead of the spring classics, the first major goal of the 2016 season. Rodríguez will skip the Giro d’Italia this year, and race the Tour de France and Vuelta a España later this summer. He also hopes to be selected for Spain’s five-man squad for the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.

Sky’s David Lopez also abandoned stage 2, won by Luis León Sánchez (Astana). Three of Sky’s riders were sidelined from races this week with illnesses, including Michal Kwiatkowski, Mikel Landa, and Beñat Intxausti.