Last year, Ji Cheng became the first Chinese cyclist to finish the Spanish Vuelta.
/AP

MOLA DI BARI, Italy (AP) -- The first Chinese rider to enter the Giro d'Italia, Ji Cheng, has withdrawn before the start of the sixth stage because of a fever.

The 25-year-old Argos-Shimano rider helped teammate John Degenkolb win the fifth stage on Wednesday.

Team physician Edwin Achterberg says Ji did not eat breakfast and felt very weak, adding that "we don't want to take any risks. Health comes first."

Last year, Ji was the first Chinese rider to finish the Spanish Vuelta, placing 175th.

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