(CNN) -- British cycling star Mark Cavendish has been forced to withdraw from the Tour of Missouri due to illness.
Mark Cavendish has withdrawn from the American event as a precaution due to ill health.
The Team Columbia rider had been second overall after winning the first two stages of the week-long race.
The 23-year-old sprint star, who won six stages at this year's Tour de France, was still holding the Best Young Rider jersey when he had to pull out as an infection worsened.
"Mark withdraws with deep regret from the Tour of Missouri," said a team statement on Thursday.
"Mark has been fighting an infection since traveling to the USA which has spread to his lungs.
"He has had a long and successful season and it is a team priority that his general health be protected.
"He is on antibiotics and will rest here in Missouri for a few days prior to returning to Europe."
Thor Hushovd, who claimed the Tour de France's green jersey for best sprinter ahead of Cavendish after an at-times bitter battle between the duo, snatched the lead after winning Wednesday's third stage, in which his rival was fifth.