World Champion Alessandro Ballan will head north to help his Lampre-NGC teammates prepare for the Paris-Roubaix, where he finished third in 2008, though he will miss the actual race. The Italian had to forfeit his Classics campaign due to a cytomegalovirus.
"I am doing better, and next week I will have some more exams to check the status of the virus," he said in video press release. "I would like to head north on the eve of the Paris-Roubaix to reconnoitre some of the sectors with my teammates."
Doctors diagnosed Ballan with cytomegalovirus – a herpes-type virus that causes tiredness and fever – after his withdrawal from the Tirreno-Adriatico stage race mid-March. It was a blow for the World Champion who had hoped to repeat his 2007 Ronde van Vlaanderen win this Sunday and to have a chance at the Paris-Roubaix, April 12.
"It will be hard to have another occasion to race the Northern Classics with the World Champion jersey. ... My objective is to return for the Giro d'Italia."
Ballan won the World Championship last September in Varese, Italy. He attacked solo from three kilometres out to win the title over teammate Damiano Cunego and Dane Matti Breschel.