Steegmans out of Paris-Nice due to fever, Maes also withdraws
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Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Steegmans out of Paris-Nice due to fever, Maes also withdraws

by Shane Stokes at 7:21 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Paris-Nice
 
Blow for Quick Step team on day four of race

Gert SteegmansFollowing a difficult day for the Quick Step team in Paris-Nice, the Belgian team has lost of its riders in advance of today’s fourth stage of the race.

Former Tour de France stage winner Gert Steegmans and Nikolas Maes are both out of the event. Both of them crashed yesterday, with Steegmans hitting the deck inside the final 30 kilometres and Maes then being brought down when Peter Sagan (Liquigas) slid off.

Maes was the most badly hurt of the two, being diagnosed with trauma to his pelvis. “It’s a shame because I was in a good position for the sprint. In this moment I have a lot of pain but I hope to take the start tomorrow,” he said. Unfortunately that isn’t the case, and he is heading home.

Steegmans’s withdrawal is however not linked to his own fall, but rather due to falling sick last night. The team has indicated that he has come down with a fever and that he will have to take two days off before starting to train again.

Being forced to leave the race is a blow to his team, given that he is one of its strongest riders. He won two stages in the race in 2008, netting stage one to Nevers and stage two to Belleville. Ironically, today’s 191 kilometre stage finishes in Belleville, where he would have liked to have followed up that success of three years ago.

Steegmans competed with the RadioShack team last year but had a difficult season. He is hoping for a stronger set of results now that he is back with the Belgian team.

Last month, Maes won the best young rider classification in the Tour of Qatar. He beat the second placed rider, Roger Kluge (Skil-Shimano) by over three minutes.

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