Stevens will not defend Flèche Wallonne title

American still recovering from March crash

The women's peloton will toe the start line for the Flèche Wallonne World Cup round without the number 1 dossard amongst its ranks. Defending champion Evelyn Stevens (Specialized-lululemon) last year stunned the world's top rider, Marianne Vos, by out-sprinting her to the line at the top of the Mur de Huy, but will not take part this year as she is still recovering from injuries sustained in a crash last month.

Stevens crashed on a high-speed descent during the Classica Citta di Padova on March 16 and suffered lacerations to her face and broken teeth.

Specialized-lululemon team manager Kristy Scrymgeour explained that Stevens needs a bit more time before she resumes racing. "Evie's doing pretty well and almost ready to get back to racing but we thought she needed a little bit more time," Scrymgeour told Cyclingnews on Tuesday.

"She's disappointed not to be able to start Flèche Wallonne but there is a lot of racing still to come this season and I'm pretty sure she'll be back stronger when she starts racing over the next couple of weeks."

Vos will start the third World Cup round with a 39-point lead in the series over Ellen van Dijk (Specialized-lululemon), while Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS) is in third.

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