Two major favourites for Ardennes Classics ruled out with knee injuries

Woet Poels (Team Sky) and Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) out of action for hilly Belgian races

Wout Poels and Julian Alaphilippe have both been ruled out of the Ardennes Classics
(Image credit: Watson)

Two major contenders will be missing from the Ardennes Classics after Woet Poels (Team Sky) and Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) were ruled out with knee injuries.

Poels had been expected to be one of Team Sky's leaders in the trio of races, but will instead be sidelined with a knee injury that he sustained in the Ruta del Sol, and also led to him missing Paris-Nice.

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However the winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2016 is now back training, and is looking towards a return to action at the Tour de Romandie, which begins on April 25.

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"I had a really good winter and I started really well, so it’s frustrating that I couldn’t do what I wanted to do. It’s always disappointing when you can’t race or train," Poels said.

"I did a nice ride today and the feeling was OK, so hopefully if this week carries on like this then I might go to Romandie to get some competitive action and support the team. To be back racing would be amazing."

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Also missing due to a similar injury will be Quick-Step Floors' Julian Alaphilippe, who finished as runner up at Flèche Wallonne in 2015 and 2016, and at Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2015.

The Frenchman has enjoyed a strong start to the season, winning the green and white jerseys at Paris-Nice, but sustained a knee injury in a crash at last week's Tour of the Basque Country.

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Henry Robertshaw began his time at Cycling Weekly working with the tech team, writing reviews, buying guides and appearing in videos advising on how to dress for the seasons. He later moved over to the news team, where his work focused on the professional peloton as well as legislation and provision for cycling. He's since moved his career in a new direction, with a role at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.