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.
Watch: Ardennes Classics Essential Guide
“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.”
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.