Aerts' heart surgery sooner than planned

Mario Aerts could have another go in the early breakaway

Mario Aerts could have another go in the early breakaway (Image credit: Brecht Decaluwé)

Mario Aerts will undergo cardiac surgery next Wednesday, April 27, one month sooner than originally scheduled. The Omega Pharma-Lotto rider, who hopes to cure his cardiac arrythmia with the surgery, initially planned to have the operation carried out on May 24 - but this meant that any chances of riding the Tour de France this year would be doomed.

Now, if the surgery goes well and his problems are solved, Aerts hopes to make it into the Tour squad after all. One week after the operation, he will be able to start training again. "It will still be tight to take him to the Tour, but it's not impossible," team doctor Jan Mathieu told Het Nieuwsblad.

The 36-year-old has suffered from cardiac arrythmia for years, but this season the problems got worse. The aim of the operation is to see whether a heart nerve is over-active, and if so, cauterize it.

Personally close to Jurgen Van Den Broucke, Aerts is widely seen as one of the main pillars of Lotto's Tour de France team, and one of its most experienced riders.

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