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Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) is urged on by the crowd.
Belgian out of action for Niel race
Former world cyclo-cross champion Bart Wellens was hoping to regain his top form and target a major victory this season, but an infection has put those plans temporarily on hold.
Wellens told Nieuwsblad.be that he has been suffering from a stomach and intestinal ailment, and now that he has found the source of his problems he has to take some time off the bike.
Wellens will forfeit his participation in Friday's Jaarmarktcross, but a return to the Superprestige in Hamme-Zogge could be possible.
"I'm just glad I know what's wrong," Wellens said. "I was going downhill in Zonhoven and was at an absolute low point in the the race in Ronse. I couldn't go anymore. I will now rest for a few days and not train. I'm ready to let my body recover."
The 33-year-old put in focused training in the summer toward improving his fate in the 2011-2012 cyclo-cross season, and started strong with a US campaign that yielded three victories.
He carried his good form into the first races in Belgium, taking second in Kalmthout to Niels Albert and fifth in the opening Superprestige in Ruddervoorde.