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September 12, 2009

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Cavendish out with infection

BRITAIN'S Mark Cavendish withdrew from the Tour of Missouri on Thursday with an infection his team said had spread to his lungs, becoming the second top contender to drop out of the weeklong race.

Cavendish, a sprint specialist widely considered one of cycling's fastest riders, had been second overall after winning the first two stages and finishing fifth on Wednesday.

Team Columbia-HTC announced his withdrawal before the fourth stage, a 175-kilometer race from St James to Jefferson City won by Juan Jose Haedo of Saxo Bank.

Overall leader Thor Hushovd, of Cervelo Test, battled Argentina's Juan Jose Haedo as the pack sped through the streets of Missouri's capital city. A pileup in the closing kilometers felled several riders and slowed others, Hushovd and Haedo escaped to complete the grueling climb to the finish line adjacent to the Statehouse.

Haedo, of Saxo Bank, edged Hushovd with a powerful uphill kick to win the stage. Italy's Dario Cataldo, of Quick Step, finished third.

On Monday, defending champion Christian Vande Velde suffered a wrist injury in a pileup of more than a dozen riders in St Louis. He was the last of 118 to finish the opening stage and dropped out before Tuesday's second stage.

Cavendish won six stages in this year's Tour de France.


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