Philippe Gilbert out of Paris-Nice with illness

Former world champion Philippe Gilbert was a non-starter on stage three of Paris-Nice on Wednesday

Philippe Gilbert on stage one of the 2016 Paris-Nice
(Image credit: Watson)

Philippe Gilbert has been forced to withdraw from Paris-Nice after suffering from illness, his BMC Racing team confirmed on Wednesday morning.

The Belgian 2012 road race world champion has been suffering from an upper respiratory infection, which wasn't been helped by the cold, wet conditions on the opening three days of the French stage race. He did not start Wednesday's stage three.

"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,” said BMC Racing team medic Dr Dario Spinelli.

>>> Paris-Nice 2016: Latest news, reports and more

The 33-year-old will now focus on recuperating ahead of his main early-season target: Milan-San Remo on March 19.

“I really love this race so it is disappointing to have to stop racing," Gilbert said in a BMC statement. "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."

Watch: Paris-Nice 2016 stage two highlights

Gilbert was sat in 104th place after stage two, won by overall leader Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge).

BMC's highest-placed rider in GC is defending champion Richie Porte, who will be looking to make his mark during Wednesday's stage with its testing uphill finish.

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Nigel Wynn
Former Associate Editor

Nigel Wynn worked as associate editor on, he worked almost single-handedly on the Cycling Weekly website in its early days. His passion for cycling, his writing and his creativity, as well as his hard work and dedication, were the original driving force behind the website’s success. Without him, would certainly not exist on the size and scale that it enjoys today. Nigel sadly passed away, following a brave battle with a cancer-related illness, in 2018. He was a highly valued colleague, and more importantly, n exceptional person to work with - his presence is sorely missed.