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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