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by Shane Stokes
March 28, 2018
Armstrong withdraws from Tour of Flanders attendance, cites family matter as reason; EF Education First rider Martínez attacked by a car driver, hospitalized; Keukeleire out of Lotto-Soudal squad for Spring Classics; QuickStep Floors signs European Under 23 TT champion Asgreen; Gesink’s knee problems traced back to change in position on bike; More teams announced for Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah; Video: Behind the scenes with QuickStep Floors at Gent-Wevelgem
Former Tour of Belgium victor and Vuelta a Espana stage winner Jens Keukeleire is out of the upcoming Classics, as confirmed by his Lotto-Soudal team on Tuesday. “The Belgian fell ill after Bruges – De Panne and had to be replaced for E3 Harelbeke and Ghent-Wevelgem,” it stated. “At the moment he hasn’t sufficiently recovered to get back in competition. After consulting the medical staff it has been decided to skip the upcoming Spring Classics, to fully recover fist and to work towards new goals afterwards.”
Team Doctor Servaas Bingé gave more context to what has happened in recent weeks. “First, Jens crashed in the finale of Milan-Sanremo. He wasn’t hurt too much and so it was decided he would ride Bruges – De Panne,” he said.
“Afterwards he incurred a respiratory infection, of which he hasn’t recovered yet. Unfortunately a rider is more fragile when he is in top form. Now we have to focus on his health and well-being. Of course this is a huge disappointment for Jens. This is a very important time in his first season in a new team and of course he wanted to perform the best as possible.”
The squad’s line-up for Dwars door Vlaanderen is Lars Bak, Tiesj Benoot, Jasper De Buyst, Jens Debusschere, Nikolas Maes, Lawrence Naesen and Jelle Wallays. The team is already down a key rider after Andre Greipel crashed out of Milan-San Remo and sustained a fractured collarbone. He underwent surgery, with a plate and ten screws being inserted to put the bone back together.