Vierzon, France - Luxembourg's Andy Schleck has pulled out of the Paris-Nice race before the third stage because of gastroenteritis, his Radioshack Nissan team said on Tuesday.

“Already yesterday, before the stage, Andy didn't feel good”, sports director Alain Gallopin said in a statement.

“He was able to finish the stage but that cost a lot of energy. This morning, Andy felt better, but in the bus he got stomach problems and high temperature again.”

Schleck, who has been promoted from second place to 2010 Tour de France winner after champion Alberto Contador was stripped of his title in the wake of a failed drugs test, finished some 11 minutes off the pace in Monday's second stage.

“I really wanted to try,” Schleck said. “But against sickness you cannot do a lot. I need to let my body recover from this. This is bad news, I wanted to perform well in Paris-Nice but I'd better not jeopardise the rest of the season.”

Briton Bradley Wiggins leads the race by six seconds over American Levi Leipheimer. – Reuters