JEFFERSON, Missouri (Reuters) - Argentina's Juan Jose Haedo outsprinted Norwegian Thor Hushovd in the final 100 meters to win the Tour of Missouri's fourth stage on Thursday and grab the overall lead.
Four seconds behind the pacesetting Hushovd overnight, Haedo surged uphill to the finish line to claim the 175.7 kilometer (109.2-mile) St. James to Jefferson City road race in four hours, seven minutes and 55 seconds.
The 28-year-old sprint specialist, who was in third place overall after the third stage, has never before led a stage race.
Hushovd, the sprint competition winner at this year's Tour de France, crossed the line in second place with Italy's Dario Cataldo close behind in third.
Early race leader Mark Cavendish of Britain suffered a major blow before the start of the fourth stage when he was forced to pull out of the Tour of Missouri because of a lung infection.
A 10-times Tour de France stage winner, Cavendish had won the first two stages in the week-long race and was second in the overall standings overnight.
"Mark has been fighting an infection since traveling to the United States and it has spread to his lungs," Bob Stapleton, owner of Columbia-HTC, the cyclist's California-based team, told reporters.
"He has had a long season and it is a team priority that his general health be protected."
According to team officials, the 26-year-old Cavendish is taking antibiotics and will remain in Missouri for a few days before returning to Europe.
The Briton had finished fifth in Wednesday's third stage to drop into second spot in the overall standings behind Hushovd.
The seven-stage Tour of Missouri continues on Friday with the 30.6 kilometer (19-mile) Sedalia individual time trial. The $170,000 race concludes on Sunday in Kansas City.
(Reporting by James Raia; Editing by Ian Ransom)