The Katusha team has announced that Alexander Kristoff will not ride Gent-Wevelgem after being struck by illness before the race. The team made the announcement via social media on Sunday morning just moments before the team travelled to Deinze, near Gent, for the start of the race.
Kristoff apparently began to feel ill after finishing off the pace at E3 Harelbeke on Friday and team doctors decided not to allow him to race due a temperature.
“The doctor said I can’t do Gent-Wevelgem because I’ve got a slight fever,” Kristoff said in a video message published by his Katusha team.
“I’ve not been feeling good after Harelbeke and yesterday I felt bad, so that’s the decision,”
Despite not being at his very best in recent races, Kristoff was a contender for Gent-Wevelgem because of his ability in the tough cobbled Classics and his fast finishing sprint. He now hopes to recover quickly and be back to his best for next Sunday’s Tour of Flanders.
Kristoff won last year’s Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde and is set to ride the three-day stage race next week before the Tour of Flanders. Kristoff played down the risk that his Tour of Flanders was in danger.
“It can be, but I hope not,” he said.“There’s still a week to go and usually I recover faster than in a week. So I assume I’ll be okay for Flanders.”
In the absence of Kristoff, Sven Erik Bystrom may have a chance to ride for himself, with Marco Haller perhaps the Katusha team’s sprint option.
Cyclingnews will have full live coverage of Gent-Wevelgem, with special news, interviews and a full report and photo gallery after the race.