Lampre leader bows out as bronchitis turns into pneumonia

In the latest high-profile withdrawal from this year’s Tour de France, world champion Rui Costa will not start today’s stage.

Costa’s Lampre-Merida said that an x-ray examination carried out during yesterday’s rest day, revealed that the bronchitis Costa has been suffering from for several days had developed into pneumonia.

Antibiotics had been keeping Costa’s bronchitis stable, according to the team.

“On the rest day however the world champion woke up to a worse feeling than the past and a general state of fatigue,” the team said in a statement. “Accompanied by Dr. Beltemacchi, doctor of Team Lampre-Merida, Rui Costa was subjected to various tests and X-rays which led to the diagnosis and forced the doctor to take the decision for Rui not to continue in this year’s Tour de France.

“Rui Costa was very willing to continue and respect the Tour, therefore he wanted to get through the night in order to assess his condition in the morning, but the persistent state of not feeling well and the risk of forfeiting the rest of the season has convinced the world champion to retire from the race.”

Costa was lying 13th overall despite his illness.

This Tour de France has been notable for the attrition of high-profile riders including Mark Cavendish, who crashed out on stage one; Chris Froome, who withdrew with fractures to both hands after crashing on stages four and five; and Alberto Contador, who broke his leg on stage 10. Lampre-Merida has already lost sprinter Sacha Modolo due to a viral infection.

Earlier in the Tour we looked at Rui Costa's new Merida Reacto Evo KOM

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.