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Page last updated at 09:57 GMT, Thursday, 30 April 2009 10:57 UK

Ballan ruled out of Giro d'Italia

Italy's Alessandro Ballan
Italian Ballan won a stage in last year's Tour of Spain

World champion Alessandro Ballan will miss next month's Giro d'Italia after struggling to shake off a virus.

The Italian, 29, a surprise winner of September's world road race title in Varese, had been ill for over a month.

A Lampre team spokesman said Ballan had returned to training but would not be fit for the Giro's start on 9 May.

The three-week event, second only to the Tour de France in terms of prestige, celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.

The 2008 event was won by Spaniard Alberto Contador of Astana but he is skipping this year's race to concentrate on the Tour de France.

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see also
Armstrong vows to make Giro start
17 Apr 09 |  Cycling
Organisers unveil 2009 Giro route
15 Dec 08 |  Cycling
Sastre to face Armstrong in Italy
19 Nov 08 |  Cycling
Contador opts to miss 2009 Giro
28 Oct 08 |  Cycling
Ballan sprints to road race title
28 Sep 08 |  Cycling
Contador claims historic Giro win
01 Jun 08 |  Cycling

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