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by Shane Stokes
March 17, 2018
Hodeg lands first pro win in Handzame Classic; Gerrans out of San Remo, Vliegen and Bevin out of Catalunya; Spanish Cycling Federation drops Operacion Puerto cases; Former boss says Zabel was a kleptomaniac; Preview: Your guide to the 2018 Milan-San Remo; Video: 100% Brumotti waiting for Milan-San Remo; Video: Manta5 Hydrofoil Bike Prototype Demo Reel
Former winner Simon Gerrans has been forced to withdraw from Saturday’s Milan-San Remo, with the Australian bowing out due to illness. “Simon Gerrans developed a respiratory infection at Paris-Nice which triggered his asthma,” said BMC Racing Team Chief Medical Officer Dr. Max Testa. “We hoped he would be able to recover in time for Milan-San Remo but over the past two days, his condition has worsened.
“Given the poor weather and the length of the race, it is in Simon’s best interests to not line up on Saturday. Fortunately, Simon will be able to resume training in a few days and his illness won’t affect his race program.” His place has been taken up by Francisco Ventoso, who had been due to ride the Handzame Classic on Friday.
Also sidelined are Loïc Vliegen and Patrick Bevin, who were due to line out in the Volta a Catalunya on Monday. Vliegen crashed in a freak accident after Wednesday’s Danilith Nokere Koerse, where he finished 12th. “It was just bad luck as I was riding back to the team bus after anti-doping control after the finish,” he explained. “The bus was quite far away and the traffic was bad as it always is after a race finishes. Suddenly a car pulled out to turn left and I hit the front left wheel of the car and went flying over it.”
He suffered a fractured left scaphoid, and will undergo surgery on Monday. He will likely be out of racing for four weeks.
Bevin briefly led the recent Tirreno-Adriatico and was motivated for Catalunya, but will also miss the race. “Patrick Bevin woke up with a fever and has developed an upper respiratory infection,” Testa explained. “Given [he] will need three to four days off the bike to recover, he will not be able to line up at Volta Ciclista a Catalunya.”