Citing a lack of fitness, Belgian star Tom Boonen (Etixx-Quick-Step) has canceled his plans to start the 2016 season at the Tour de San Luis, in Argentina, next week.
The four-time Paris-Roubaix champion crashed heavily in October, at the Abu Dhabi Tour, suffering a skull fracture that left him with permanent hearing damage and forced him off the bike in November.
“I lost some important training days in November,” said Boonen, who won a stage of the Tour de San Luis in 2012. “I need to do more training this month, in order to be as fit as possible for the start of the season. I will start my season later, at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, in February.”
The Etixx-Quick-Step team will look to Colombian sprinter Fernando Gaviria, winner of two stages against Mark Cavendish last year at San Luis, as its leader in Argentina.
The Belgian team will be composed of Gaviria, Rodrigo Contreras, Stijn Vandenbergh, Fabio Sabatini, Lukas Wisniowski, and Maximiliano Richeze.