Patrick Bevin has been side-lined for the Tour Down Under after a heart scare while training.
The Kiwi, who came to overall victory in the 2019 edition, experience an irregular heartbeat during training and was taken to hospital for checks, his CCC Team have announced.
Bevin underwent a heart scan that revealed a heart condition, which the team say is not life-threatening but required immediate treatment to regulate his heart rhythm.
CCC Team chief medical officer Dr Max Testa said: “Patrick Bevin was admitted to the Calvary Wakefield Hospital in Adelaide after noticing some irregularities in his heartbeat during training. Patrick does not have a history of heart problems, however, an electrocardiogram detected an episode of supraventricular arrhythmia.
“Fortunately, this is a non-life threatening condition and is quite common, but it did require immediate treatment to regular the hearth rhythm.”
The 28-year-old is disappointed to skip the race after he won stage two Down Under last season and led the race into the final two stages when a crash ruined his chances of overall victory.
He will now need rest and recovery but says he will back to racing in around a month.
Dr Testa said: “Thankfully, Patrick experience this episode whilst with the team and we were able to treat the arrhythmia immediately.
“We will continue to monitor his recovery and run further tests as a precaution, however as we are less than a week out from the race, Patrick will not be in a position to line-up at the Santos Tour Down Under.
“Patrick will return to New Zealand where we are confident he will make a full recovery and will be able to resume his racing program shortly.”
Guillaume Van Keirsbulck is now on his way to Adelaide to step in and replace Bevin in the CCC roster for the first WorldTour race of the year.
Bevin said: “It’s disappointing to miss the race after preparing all off-season for it and especially after coming so close to the win last year. I was really looking forward to returning and trying to repeat my success, however it’s definitely a case of being safe than sorry and the timing has made it impossible to race here in Adelaide.
“I feel completely fine now and it’s now just a matter of rest and recovery to ensure it doesn’t happen again. With the solid block of off-season training in my legs, I’m confident I can still have a strong start to the season one-month later than planned.”