First Chinese Rider Out of Giro

Withdraws due to fever

    Photo: Mystère Martin

The first Chinese rider to enter the Giro d'Italia, Ji Cheng, has withdrawn ahead of the sixth stage because of a fever.

Team physician Edwin Achterberg told the Associated Press that Ji felt very weak and couldn't eat breakfast. "We don't want to take any risks. Health comes first."

On the fifth stage, the 25-year-old Argos Shimano rider helped propel teammate John Degenkolb to victory. Ji was the first Chinese rider to finish the Spanish Vuelta, placing 175th last year.

"I just got sick during the night, and it is really hard to leave this beautiful race already," Ji told the Bangkok Post. "It was my goal to support John to a stage win and to finish this race. So I am very disappointed that I can't reach the second part of my goal."

The UCI has pushed to expand cycling's appeal beyond Europe in recent years through its promotional arm, Global Cycling Promotion, but has faced intense criticism for race cancellations and dangerous conditions at its Chinese events.

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