Team Trek-Segafredo today announced that Jasper Stuyven has come down with illness and will not be able to defend his Milan-San Remo title this weekend.
The 29-year-old Belgian started to feel unwell after racing Paris-Nice, where more than half of the peloton abandoned the race over the course of eight days due to sickness.
This is a big blow for the sprinter whose appearance at the 2021 Milan-San Remo resulted in his biggest career win yet when he attacked from 2 kilometers out and managed to hold off a reduced bunch sprint to the line.
“Getting sick at this time of the season is a big disappointment," commented Stuyven in a statement.
"Of course, I was excited to race with the number 1 on my back after winning my first Monument last year. I thought I had safely got through Paris-Nice, but obviously I picked something up there. For me, the focus is now on getting healthy before the upcoming cobbled classics."
The late change to the line-up means that Mads Pedersen will step up as team lead and race his first Milan-Sanremo, with the aim of delivering Trek-Segafredo back-to-back wins.
“As I said in many interviews last week, it wasn’t the plan for me to race Milan-San Remo, but sometimes plans change. It’s a late change, but I’m feeling motivated and know that my shape is good. Of course, it’s a big pity for Jasper that he doesn’t get the chance to defend his title, but we will do our best to make it two in a row for the Team," said Pedersen.
The season's first Monument will take place on Saturday, March 19, at 9:50 a.m. CET. Traversing 293km between the city of Milan and San Remo on the Mediterranean coast, Milan-San Remo is the longest professional one-day race in modern cycling. Despite its length, it's largely considered a race for sprinters.
Some of the biggest stars in the sport, like Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal), are slated to contest the race through the Italian Riviera. Want some insight on who might win? Our bookmakers have crunched the numbers to determine their favourites to win the Monument on Saturday. Read their predictions, here.
Several region-specific livestreams of the race will be available. Learn how to watch the race from where you are, here.
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