Astana rider pulls out of the Tour ahead of the first mountain stage after suffering a fever

Lars Boom (Astana) has abadoned the 2015 Tour de France ahead of the first mountain stage to La-Pierre-Saint-Martin after suffering from a fever and aching body, according to his team.

The Dutchman leaves just over a week after he was caught-up in contoversy the day before the Grand Départ in Utrecht, returning a low-cortisol level in a pre-race test the afternoon prior to the opening time trial.

>>> Lars Boom cortisol case: what you need to know

Under the rules of voluntary group the Movement for Credible Cycling, of which Astana are members, Boom should have been left out of the Tour because of the test results.

The Kazakh team decided to forego the rules of the MPCC and started with Boom included in its nine-man squad to support Vincenzo Nibali.

Astana were subsequently temprarily suspended by the MPCC over the incident, but have now been forced to pull the rider from the race anyway after suffering illness for the past two days.

It means that Nibali’s squad is the second of the five big favourites’ teams to lose a rider, with Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) now riding with seven others after teammate Ivan Basso was diagnosed with testicular cancer on the morning of the first rest day.

Chris Froome (Team Sky), Tejay van Garderen (BMC) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) all head into the first mountain stage in the Pyrenees with a full complement of team members, as Froome continues to lead the Tour by a mere 12 seconds over van Garderen.

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