Pozzato uncertain for Flanders

Race favourite struck by flu at De Panne

Filippo Pozzato has been hit by a serious set back in his preparation for this Sunday's Tour of Flanders, with the Italian leader of the Katusha team forced to abandon the Three Days of De Panne on Wednesday after he displayed flu-like symptoms.

The Belgian stage race was held in gruesome conditions and Pozzato was no longer able to follow as the peloton hit the Kemmelberg. He had looked out of sorts a day earlier on stage one, where he finished in the final peloton, almost 25 minutes down on the stage winner, Steve Chainel (Bbox Bouygues Telecom).

"Today [Thursday], he will only ride a maximum of two hours behind the team car," team manager Jef Braeckevelt told Sporza. "The remainder of the day he has to rest in the team hotel."

Three days before the 'Ronde', Katusha team captain Serguei Ivanov is also unwell. The Russian champion has reportedly been suffering from from diarrhea since last weekend.

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