Jasper Stuyven won’t be defending his Milan-San Remo title on Saturday. His Trek-Segafredo team announced on Thursday that the 29-year-old Belgian will miss the Italian one-day due to illness.
In Stuyven’s stead, former world road champ Mads Pedersen will make the start, replacing one contender with another for Trek.
Stuyven is one of several riders who have been scratched from planned starts in the first Monument of the season due to illness.
“Getting sick at this time of the season is a big disappointment. Of course, I was excited to race with the number 1 on my back after winning my first Monument last year,” Stuyven said. “I thought I had safely got through Paris-Nice, but obviously I picked something up there. For me, the focus is now on getting healthy before the upcoming cobbled classics.”
Despite Stuyven’s absence, Trek-Segafredo will nonetheless line up with a real chance at victory in the form of Pedersen. Saturday will mark the Dane’s first ever start in the race, but his skill set makes him a rider to watch on the long trek from the Po Valley to the Ligurian coast.
“As I said in many interviews last week, it wasn’t the plan for me to race Milan-Sanremo, but sometimes plans change,” Pedersen said. “It’s a late change, but I’m feeling motivated and know that my shape is good. Of course, it’s a big pity for Jasper that he doesn’t get the chance to defend his title, but we will do our best to make it two in a row for the team.”