Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles) will not race Sunday's World Cup finale in Hoogerheide, according to a team release.
Van Aert said after the Fiuggi World Cup round – which he won – that he had been feeling knee pain since the race in Otegem in the second week of of January. Having already wrapped up the overall World Cup series title with an insurmountable points lead, the reigning World Champion will skip Hoogerheide and focus on his Worlds defense, which he insists will not be derailed by the injury.
"My Worlds is not in danger, but of course the time is ticking," Van Aert said in the release. He then expressed his disappointment via Twitter.
So sad Fiuggi was my last race in the rainbow jersey. Without even realising it pic.twitter.com/bJ57dT4uDC— Wout van Aert (@WoutvanAert) January 19, 2017
The team provided an update on Van Aert's recovery status, noting that he is showing improvement though not ready to race yet.
The 22-year-old will still look to defend his world title and secure another year in the rainbow jersey on January 29 in Bieles, Luxembourg.