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Mathieu van der Poel pulls out of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad with flu

Joe Robinson
28 Feb 2020

Dutch rider's Classics campaign put on ice due to illness

Cyclocross World Champion Mathieu van der Poel will miss Omloop Het Niuewsblad this weekend with illness. The Dutch rider was scheduled to start his Classics campaign in Belgium this Saturday but his Alpecin-Fenix team confirmed via a press release that he will be forced to skip the race due to 'a high fever and flu'.

Alongside Van der Poel, the team confirmed that Sacha Modolo and Oscar Riesebeek would also miss out.

Van der Poel, 24, was set to lead the Alpecin-Fenix team and was bookmakers' favourite for what would have been his debut at the race. 

The Dutchman started his road campaign at the Volta ao Algarve in unusually quiet circumstances, managing a stage-best result of 33rd on Stage 2 to Foia.

If he recovers in time, he will now have the start of his Classics campaign pushed back to Strade Bianche on Saturday 7th March, although that could also be in the balance.

Most sporting events in Italy have been cancelled in the last week due to an outbreak of Coronavirus. A surge of cases last weekend saw multiple football and rugby games cancelled while Giro d'Italia organiser RCS referenced that some cycling events could also be affected.

While Strade Bianche takes place in Tuscany, so outside of the affected areas in the north, the speed in which the virus is spreading could see the one-day Classic postponed or even cancelled.

If this was the case, then the first sighting of Van der Poel on the road could be at Milan-San Remo on Saturday 21st May, a race that is also looking at a possible cancellation due to the ongoing Coronavirus situation.