Swedish champion Emma Johansson will not attempt a third consecutive victory in the women's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday, opting instead to continue recovering from double clavicle fractures she sustained during training in January.
The 28-year-old was injured when she was struck by a car while training.
Johansson had a successful surgery to repair the breaks, but was forced to skip her Hitec Products-Mistral Home team camp in Gran Canaria earlier this month, choosing to stay in Norway to train indoors.
"The training camp with the team came a bit too early after my surgery and I decided to stay in Norway to build on my strength and do interval training. I didn’t want to risk anything," Johansson said in a press release.
Johansson, the silver medalist at the Beijing Olympic Games road race, won the Omloop in 2010 and 2011, both times in a sprint from a small breakaway. The race is the European opener for the women's international racing season.
"This is one of my favorite races. It goes through my home in Belgium and I know every bit of it… I wished to start Saturday, not only for myself, but also for my team Hitec Products – Mistral Home, my sponsors, my supporters and friends. But now I have to think about the rest of the season and I need the training blocks that I missed because of the accident."
The first World Cup, the Unive Ronde van Drenthe, takes place in two weeks on March 10, but Johansson would not state when she will begin her season, only that she would evaluate her condition and training progress.