Alejandro Valverde out of Paris-Nice with illness

Spaniard pulls out citing fever

Alejandro Valverde at the 2016 Tour de France
(Image credit: Yuzuru Sunada)

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), hot on the heels of his victory at the Ruta del Sol, has pulled out of Paris-Nice after suffering from a fever.

The Spaniard took his 100th career victory at the Ruta del Sol, and looked in sumptuous form as he beat the likes of Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo), Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) Mikel Landa and Wout Poels (Team Sky) to overall victory in Andalucia.

But his Movistar team announced on Friday afternoon, two days before the Paris-Nice's first stage in Bois-d’Arcy, that Valverde has been suffering from a virus that morning, and wouldn't travel to northern France with the team.

The 36-year-old has never won the prestigious French race overall, but finished third overall in 2012 behind winner Bradley Wiggins and Dutchman Lieuwe Westra.

He'll now have to wait to make his racing return at the Volta a Catalunya, before turning his focus to his season's main aim at the Ardennes Classic.

Valverde is replaced in the Movistar Paris-Nice team by Basque climber Víctor de la Parte.

Meanwhile, José Joaquín Rojas, who broke his leg on one of the final stages of the Vuelta a España last year, will return to racing at Strade Bianche on Saturday after Italian Danielle Bennati pulled out with sickness.

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Richard Windsor

Follow on Twitter: @richwindy

Richard is digital editor of Cycling Weekly. Joining the team in 2013, Richard became editor of the website in 2014 and coordinates site content and strategy, leading the news team in coverage of the world's biggest races and working with the tech editor to deliver comprehensive buying guides, reviews, and the latest product news.

An occasional racer, Richard spends most of his time preparing for long-distance touring rides these days, or getting out to the Surrey Hills on the weekend on his Specialized Tarmac SL6 (with an obligatory pub stop of course).