Pre-race favourite Marianne Vos will not be present on the start line at tomorrow's Women's Tour of Flanders after falling ill, her Rabobank team hasconfirmed. Vos will be replaced in her team's ranks by Germany's Sarah Duster, and the 2008 Olympic gold medallist faces a race against time to be fit for the Energiewacht Tour, which starts on Wednesday. Earlier in the year she celebrated an incredible fourth consecutive cyclo-cross world championship and had made a pleasing start to the road season by winning the Ronde van Drenthe and the Trofeo Alfredo Binda.
“It’s really unfortunate for Marianne,” said Rabobank sporting director Jeroen Blijlevens. “The Tour of Flanders was one of her biggest targets of the spring. We hope that she is fit again soon.”
Blijlevens can take comfort in the fact that in spite of the absence of Vos his team are still blessed with lots of talent at their disposal for tomorrow's race, including France's rising star Pauline Ferrand Prevot and Annemiek van Vleuten and Tatiana Antoshina - who finished first and second at Flanders last year. They are set for an intriguing battle on the cobbles tomorrow with AA Drink–leontien.nl, whose lineup includes the in-form Lizzie Armitstead.