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Page last updated at 11:34 GMT, Saturday, 27 March 2010

Flu forces Mark Cavendish to abandon Tour of Catalunya

Mark Cavendish
Cavendish was one of the most successful riders in the 2009 season

Mark Cavendish's troubled start to 2010 continued as he abandoned the Tour of Catalunya exhibiting flu symptoms.

Dental problems held up his preparation for the season and, despite recording a first win of 2010 in the second stage, he dropped out of Friday's fifth stage.

"I've been ill for the last two days and today was worse," said Cavendish.

The Briton's HTC-Columbia team manager Brian Holm said: "I told him to stop if he was feeling so bad. He wasn't happy but it was the right thing to do."

The 24-year-old had been road racing's most prolific winner of 2009, with 24 victories, but he withdrew 50 miles (80km) into the 112-mile stage won by Italian Davide Malacarne.

Cavendish's emphatic bunch sprint victory in stage two, on Tuesday, marked his first victory in six months, a drought not helped by a severe tooth infection earlier this year.

However, Holm played down the long-term consequences for Cavendish, adding: "It's nothing too serious. He said he was feeling bad the last few days and it's got worse today."

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see also
Catalunya stage win for Cavendish
23 Mar 10 |  Cycling
Voss wins time trial in Catalunya
22 Mar 10 |  Cycling
Mark Cavendish crashes in Italy
17 Mar 10 |  Cycling
Wiggins third in Tour of Murcia
07 Mar 10 |  Cycling
Wiggins impresses in time trial
24 Feb 10 |  Cycling
Sky gain first major European win
08 Mar 10 |  Cycling
Freire earns third San Remo win
22 Mar 10 |  Cycling

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