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.
Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.