Wellens out for another week with bad back

Heavy courses in Hamme-Zogge, Niel too much strain

Telenet-Fidea's Bart Wellens will sit out another weekend of racing in order to speed the healing of his injured back, but hopes to return next week at the GP Hasselt. The 35-year-old was diagnosed with a herniated disc, and has been told by his doctors to continue to train cautiously while the injections take effect.

"Bart's condition is satisfactory," his team doctor Peter T'Seyen told HLN.be. "But more time is needed for the injections to do their work. Therefore it is medically better that Bart remain away from competition this week."

Wellens has been allowed to continue riding, but at a lower effort level, in order to maintain his endurance in hopes that the rest of the season can go off unhindered by the injury.

After doing his second long training ride since his treatment, Wellens said he is not bad, but not great. "It's pretty much in between. Yesterday I did the full three-hour group ride as I really wanted to ride." He took care to detour around the steep climbs to avoid putting pressure on his back, and will take his doctor's advice to avoid the races this weekend.

"If I raced it would be only at half speed," he said. "Moreover, this weekend's courses are very heavy. I won't force it. I might start again in Hasselt."

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