Australian Richie Porte has withdrawn from the Tour de Romandie in Switzerland ahead of stage two after suffering from an overnight illness.
Porte’s BMC Racing Team issued a statement on Thursday morning, saying that the 31-year-old had withdrawn on medical advice.
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“Richie has developed some gastrointestinal problems and a fever overnight and is not fit to start today, particularly given the difficulty of stage two,” said BMC Racing Team doctor Dario Spinelli.
“He is showing symptoms of a virus and hasn’t had an appetite so it’s not in his best interest to line up for a mountain stage with no fuel in the system.”
Porte himself said that he was ‘disappointed’ to be leaving the race, seen by some as an early-season form tester before the Tour de France in July.
“Of course it’s disappointing to have to stop but I trust the medical team’s advice that it’s the right decision,” said Porte.
Porte was sat in 87th position overall after Wednesday’s stage one, 37 seconds behind race leader and prologue winner Ion Izagirre (Movistar). American Tejay van Garderen is BMC’s highest-placed rider in the general classification, in eighth place and 11 seconds adrift of Izagirre.
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Stage two of the Tour de Romandie concludes with a category one summit finish at Morgins, which will give the climbers their first chance to make a mark on the six-day WorldTour race.
Porte switched teams from Sky to BMC for the 2016 season, where he was drafted in to be a Grand Tour leader for the team alongside van Garderen.
So far this season, Porte has finished second at the Tour Down Under, third in Paris-Nice and fourth in the Volta a Catalunya.
Team Sky announced that Ian Stannard has also withdrawn from the Tour de Romandie ahead of stage two.