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A look at the school, the races and the future of this unique 'sport'
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Tom Boonen (Quick Step)
Infections affecting racing schedules
A variety of illnesses are sweeping through the peloton with Tom Boonen being forced to cancel an appearance, Martin Maaskant quitting races, and Austria facing the possible loss of two of their Worlds riders.
Boonen (QuickStep) had to cancel his appearance at a sportif this weekend, the Innergetic Pijl. It would have been his first race in three months. “He is in bed with a cold,” team manager Patrick Lefevere said.
"It is unfortunate for the organisers, but sick is sick," Lefevere told Het Laatste Nieuws. "I want to emphasise that Tom had every intention of coming.”
Boonen is still recovering from surgery for the knee problems that have afflicted him this season. His last race was the Tour de Suisse in June, which he had to abandon.
The former world champion plans to return to racing at the Circuit Franco-Belge.
Maaskant started but did not finish either of this past weekend's races in Canada. The Garmin-Transitions rider said the he would let himself be examined to find out what is wrong. The Dutch rider dropped out of the GP Quebec on Friday after only 25 km, and in Sunday's GP du Montreal he abandoned after only one lap of the 12.6 km course.
“I don't know what's going on,” he told De Telegraaf. “I think I need my blood checked again, because this is not normal.”
He added: “It seems best to put an end to my season, come through the winter well and start again fresh in 2011.”
Denifl, of Cervelo TestTeam, had to abandon the Vuelta this weekend. He had been suffering from a throat infection before the race.
“My health problems have gotten worse in the last few days, he told ORF.at. “I have to listen to my body.”
Bernhard Eisel of HTC-Columbia had to abandon the Vuelta due to illness, and said that he did not know if he would be able to ride the Worlds race in Melbourne. Now Denifl's participation is also in doubt.
Austria can only send three riders to the road race. The third rider named to the team was Peter Wrolich, whose Milram teammate Thomas Rohregger is the reserve rider.