Quick-Step Floors announced on Friday that Iljo Keisse will not be participating in the upcoming Belgian Road Championships, as he has been sidelined for several weeks to recover from pleurisy. The 35-year-old will also miss out on the selection for the upcoming Tour de France set to begin on July 7 in the Vendée region.
"I am really sad to miss the Nationals because of this pleura inflammation," Keisse said in a team press release. "This also means I won’t be in the selection for the Tour de France anymore, which is really frustrating because I’ve worked hard to be in good shape for this part of the season and I was really motivated to be on the roster for July.
"Unfortunately, this is also part of a rider’s life. I want to wish my teammates the best of luck in the upcoming weeks and I look forward to rejoining them."
Pleurisy is a condition that causes inflammation to the inner side of the chest cavity and a layer of tissue that surrounds the lungs. It causes sharp chest pain (pleuritic pain) that worsens during breathing.The team noted that rest is the only therapy for recovering from pleurisy and that Keisse will take three weeks completely off before resuming training.
The men's 223km road race at the Belgian Championships will take place in Binche on Sunday. Quick-Step Floors will field a six-man team that includes Laurens De Plus, Tim Declercq, Dries Devenyns, Philippe Gilbert, Yves Lampaert and Pieter Serry.
"The road race will be a hard one with a demanding, typically Belgian course, with some hard parts and cobblestone sectors," said director Tom Steels. "The finish is quite challenging too, as we know it from Binche. Our riders' form is on point, but it won't be easy to take home the tricolour. We have to be ready from kilometer zero, keep a sharp eye on things and be present where the action happens."
According to a team press release, since 2003, Quick-Step Floors has won a total of 43 National Championships with 23 different riders across 16 countries from three continents. Most recent titles came last year, when Yves Lampaert took a maiden win in the Belgian Time Trial, while Bob Jungels and Zdenek Stybar soloed to victory in Luxembourg and the Czech Republic, respectively.
Lampaert was unsuccessful at defending his Belgian time trial title on Friday, as he placed third to winner Victor Campenaerts and runner-up Thomas De Gendt (both Lotto Soudal).