Mathieu van der Poel could miss Strade Bianche as he continues to recover from the flu, his coach has confirmed.
"Mathieu is not ready for cycling yet", Kristof De Kegel told Wielerflits (opens in new tab) before the start of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, which Van der Poel was due to start before being struck down with illness.
With the Dutchman still off the bike and Strade Bianche taking place on Saturday March 7, there isn't much time for him to recover in time to make the start line for what would be his first appearance at the Italian one-day race.
"We look at his situation day by day, but he does have a strong flu. Hopefully we will get clarity about those Italian rates as soon as possible, then we will see how the situation of Mathieu evolves."
Alpecin-Fenix team manager, Christoph Roodhooft, adds that Van der Poel won't even travel to Italy if he is not 100 per cent fit: "In any case, he will not start in optimum conditions. He has been without a bike for four or five days now. It makes no sense to start with a non-fit rider in a race like the Strade Bianche, even if it is Van der Poel."
Van der Poel had been favourite for both Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, as the 25-year-old begins what was supposed to be his first full Classics season.
After Strade Bianche and Milan - San Remo, he is also expected to race the Volta a Catalunya, then Dwars door Vlaanderen, the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Brabatnse Pijl, Amstel Gold and Flèche Wallone.
This summer he will be stepping away from the road bike however, as he is targeting the Olympic gold medal in the mountain bike event in Tokyo, before looking to the cyclocross season once again.
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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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