Dominique Cornu has withdrawn from next week's International Cycling Union (UCI) Track World Championships after illness interrupted his bid for what he had hoped would be success in the men's 4000 metre individual pursuit.
Cornu, who was the only Belgian medallist at last year's World Championships, had been his country's top hope for a medal at the 2010 event, to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark on March 24-28. Cornu told Het Niewsblad that a bout of flu which has kept him out of competition since the middle of February has now put paid to his plans for the track championships.
"Just before the Ruta del Sol I became ill and I had flu," Cornu said. "I have had problems with it for two weeks. It meant I missed Paris-Nice and my condition is far from optimal."
Despite the illness forcing his withdrawal from the Track World Championships, Cornu will return to competition with his professional team Skil-Shimano. He will race at Critérium International on March 27-28; the same weekend as the Track Worlds.
Cornu's withdrawal means Belgium's eyes will turn to his fellow road convert, Iljo Keisse, as the nation's best hope of a medal. The Quick Step rider will take on a heavy schedule that will include the scratch and point races, as well as the Madison with Ingmar De Poortere.
De Poortere will also line-up for the individual pursuit, with Cornu's absence opening the door for Jonathan Dufrasne to slot into Belgium's second pre-qualified pursuit spot. Tim Mertens will race the Omnium.
While the men will not field a team pursuit squad, Jessie Daams, Jolien D’Hoore and Kelly Druyts will line up in the women's 3000 metre team pursuit. D'Hoore will also tackle the points race, while Kelly Druyts will compete in the scratch race.
Belgium's last Track World Championship gold medal came in 1998, when Etienne De Wilde and Matthew Gilmore claimed the Madison in Bordeaux, France.
Belgian team for the 2010 International Cycling Union (UCI) Track World Championships:
Ingmar De Poortere (individual pursuit, Madison)
Jonathan Dufrasne (individual pursuit)
Iljo Keisse (points race, scratch race, Madison)
Tim Mertens (Omnium)
Jolien D’Hoore (team pursuit, points race)
Kelly Druyts (team pursuit, scratch race)
Jessie Daams (team pursuit)