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MICHAEL MILTON'S chances of competing in his first summer Paralympic Games have taken a blow with a mystery illness forcing him off the bike and out of the Australian team for next month's world championships.

The champion skier won more than 20 international medals in a career spanning over 20 years. He took up competitive cycling almost a year ago and broke an Australian record at his first major meet earlier this year. His results saw him named in the Australian team to compete in the 2007 Para-Cycling World Championships in France next month but a string of illnesses including chronic fatigue have forced Milton to put his cycling career on hold.

Struck down with flu-like symptoms six weeks ago, Milton has been unable to train and is being treated by doctors at the Australian Institute of Sport. He says it is a real blow to his goal of qualifying for the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games.

'My medical team is great but so far we've been unable to nail down the cause. Although I've tried to keep training, I am nowhere near full strength and wouldn't be able to perform at my peak in France. I just have to put my health first. It's likely to be related to over training and stress so some time off is the best remedy. There's a lot happening in my life at the moment and I think I may just be trying to do too much,' said Milton, clearly disappointed.

Milton plans to return to full training once his health issues are worked out and is hopeful of qualifying for Beijing at the 2008 National Track Titles early next year.

'I certainly haven't given up. I love cycling and believe I can still make the team for Beijing. My family has been very supportive and my sponsors are all sticking by me which is great.

'My first and most important goal is to get better then get on the bike. We'll see how things go from there,' said Milton.

Milton is sponsored by Toyota Australia, Skins Compression Garments and reACT Roofing and supported by the Australian Institute of Sport and the ACT Academy of Sport.

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