Silence-Lotto rider Mario Aerts has agreed to replace Stijn Devolder on the Belgian team for the Olympic Games, it was announced Saturday. After consulting with his Quick Step team on Friday, Devolder decided to withdraw his name from the Beijing squad in order to rest up after the Tour de France for his main goal of the late season, the World Championships in Varese, Italy.
Aerts and Liquigas rider Frederik Willems were the reserves for the Belgian team, but Willems refused his spot, citing fatigue from riding the first week of the Tour while sick. He told Sporza.be, "I can not get ready in time for the Olympics. If I had to go, I think my season would be finished."
Aerts, by contrast, was excited to have a chance to go to the Games. "I had already put the Games out of my mind," he told Sporza.be, "but after Devolder pulled out, I thought it over again. Cadel Evans told me I couldn't miss it, so I will go and do my absolute best."
Aerts will join Christophe Brandt, Maxime Monfort, Jurgen Van den Broeck and Johan Vansummeren in the road race on August 9. Van den Broeck and Monfort will contest the time trial on August 3.