Alberto Contador has been admitted to hospital in Bogotá, Colombia, with a fever and severe gastrointestinal problems.
The 36-year-old was in Colombia to take part in the Giro de Rigo, a cycling event being promoted by EF Education First's Rigoberto Urán, but confirmed in a video appearance that he would no longer be able to take part.
"I regret not being able to take part in the Giro de Rigo," Contador said. "I had trained with great enthusiasm and travelled [to Colombia] with great enthusiasm but during the trip I began to feel ill, suffering from very high fevers."
The Spaniard says he expects he may have suffered a severe form of food poisoning after eating something that did not agree with him.
"I must have eaten something contaminated. Now we are trying to stabilise [me]," Contador said.
The seven-time Grand Tour winner will remain in hospital in Bogotá for the next 48 hours as doctors continue to observe his condition.
Other pro riders set to take part in the Giro de Rigo include Tour de France 2019 winner Egan Bernal (Ineos), Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott), Sergio Higuita (EF Education First), Daniel Martínez (EF Education First), Sergio Henao (UAE Team Emirates) as well as former pros Luis Herrera and Iván Basso.
In August, Contador broke his own climbing elevation record at an Alpine endurance race, having continued to enjoy riding his bike despite retiring from the professional peloton in 2017. The Spaniard ascended more than 7,000m in the gruelling nine hour Tour des Stations at an average speed of 23.4km/h.
A number of former riders have been hospitalised recently, Eddy Merckx spent a week in hospital after suffering a haemorrhage following a bike crash during a Sunday ride with friends. The Belgian's former rival Roger De Vlaeminck then found himself in intensive care with a fever, while Raymond Poulidor also spent time in hospital to receive treatment.
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
Black Friday bike deals live: computers, smartwatches, clothing, shoes and more!
Black Friday is well under way and we'll be on hand throughout the long weekend picking out the very best deals on cycling kit
By Stefan Abram • Published
Best of REI's Black Friday cycling deals
From kids bikes to turbo trainers this outdoor giant has some real bargains
By Vern Pitt • Published
Alberto Contador hugely impressed with current level of talent: 'Cycling is living one of its best moments'
The Spaniard has singled out Tadej Pogačar for praise in what he claims is a 'golden generation'
By Ryan Dabbs • Published
Alberto Contador: 'I thought about coming back - I wanted to ride Giro 2020'
Contador reveals how highly his physical condition was during the lockdown last year
By Ryan Dabbs • Published