After missing Paris-Nice due to illness, Rohan Dennis is on the mend and set to return to racing at next week’s Volta a Catalunya, his BMC team confirmed on Thursday. BMC issued a medical update in their ill and injured riders, including Philippe Gilbert, Stefan Kung and Floris Gerts.
Dennis has only competed in a handful of races since he opened the season in Australia. The 25-year-old was due to ride Paris-Nice alongside Richie Porte but dropped out two days before it started, citing sinusitis as the problem. Team doctor Max Testa says that Dennis is not yet back to full fitness, and the Australian is modest about his chances at the seven-day race.
"I've improved a lot since the days before Paris-Nice when I first became ill and have been training solidly for Volta Ciclista a Catalunya. I'm not going into the race with any big expectations. Instead, I'll be focusing on building my racing fitness back up,” Dennis said in the team press release.
In Catalunya, Dennis will once again line-up with fellow countryman Porte, who recently finished third at Paris-Nice.
The team also confirmed that Stefan Kung would make his long-awaited comeback at Dwars door Vlaanderen next Wednesday. Kung fell ill over the off-season with Epstein-Barr Virus (also known as mononucleosis) and has not been able to race so far this season, and missed the track World Championships earlier this month. In the press release, Testa explained that Kung’s latest blood test results showed the Swiss rider had passed through the ‘active phase’ of the infection.
“I'm feeling really healthy, and it's great to get the final all-clear from my doctors,” said Kung. “My training volume has been back to normal for some time, although not at the same intensity. Now so more than anything, I'm just really looking forward to racing again and at this stage, I'll be lining up at Dwars Door Vlaanderen. Now my focus will be on getting some race days in the legs and seeing how my form is."
On Gilbert’s recovery from the respiratory infection that forced him to abandon Paris-Nice last week, Testa said: “He's had a couple of easy days of training to slowly build up each day, and he is noticing a good improvement. After another medical evaluation at the start of the week, a collective decision has been made between Philippe, BMC Racing Team management and myself that it is not in his best interests to race Milan-San Remo."
In the absence of Gilbert, Greg Van Avermaet will be the team’s sole leader for Milan-San Remo. Finally, the team get an update on Gerts, who crashed and fractured his ribs at Le Samyn. Gerts raced Nokere Koerse on Wednesday as a tester. He will now enjoy a week of rest before his next set of races.