Cycling: Illness forces premature withdrawal for Armstrong

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The Independent Online

Lance Armstrong yesterday took what for him is a near-unprecedented decision and quit a stage race because of illness.

Lance Armstrong yesterday took what for him is a near-unprecedented decision and quit a stage race because of illness.

Armstrong abandoned the Paris-Nice stage race - second only to the Tour de France in terms of prestige in that country - suffering from fever and a sore throat. He was lying 61st.

This is only the second time Armstrong has pulled out of a race prior to the Tour for health reasons since he began his run of six straight Tour wins in 1999. According to his team, Discovery Channel, the Texan has "no set date planned for racing. We pulled him out for his own and for the team's good."

It is a worrying setback for a rider who has seemed impervious to illness since he overcame a life-threatening cancer in the late 1990s. Armstrong's abandonment will not be welcomed by the other Tour contenders. The American will now be centring his entire season on July.

Alasdair Fotheringham writes for Cycling Weekly

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