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Last Updated: Saturday, 12 July, 2003, 11:20 GMT 12:20 UK
Virus rocks Fassa Bortolo
Alessandro Petacchi
Petacchi had won four of the opening six stages

Fassa Bortolo have been ripped apart by a virus that forced several of their riders to pull out of the Tour de France.

Italians Alessandro Petacchi and Marco Velo gave up during the seventh stage, while Spaniard Aitor Gonzalez, Ukraine's Volodymir Gustov and Swiss Sven Montgomery failed to start Sunday's eighth stage to l'Alpe d'Huez.

And Italian Nicola Loda also withdrew during the 219-km stage.

"Unfortunately, we registered not only the withdrawal of Alessandro Petacchi, but also that of Marco Velo, who had had a fever for two days," said Fassa Bortolo.

"Yesterday, more cases took place in the team."

Fassa Bortolo said Tour doctors had diagnosed a virus.

Petacchi, winner of four stages, sparked controversy when he pulled out on the first serious incline of the 2003 race.

He got off his bike after 52 km of the 230.5 km stage between Lyon and Morzine in the French Alps.



Links to more Tour de France 2003 stories


 

VOTE RESULTS
Who is the Tour's leading sprinter?
Baden Cooke
 18.69% 
Robbie McEwen
 14.95% 
Alessandro Petacchi
 55.14% 
Erik Zabel
 11.21% 
107 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

TOUR DE FRANCE 2003


STAGE REPORTS
 

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