The Alpecin-Fenix team will head to Hungary for the start of the Giro d'Italia without sprinter Tim Merlier. The Belgian suffered a heavy fall during Paris-Roubaix and a deep gash to his elbow that has not healed enough to allow him to start the Giro d'Italia.
"Tim will unfortunately not be able to line up for this year's Giro d’Italia," the team's injury update stated on Thursday. "His blood results (increased CRP and sedimentation, no leukocytosis [all markers of inflammation, ed.]), his training, and the evolution of his wound healing – also according to the surgeon – are not what it should be to be able to start the Giro on May 6."
Merlier was due to race the Italian Grand Tour alongside Mathieu van der Poel, but will instead look ahead toward a late-May training camp.
"Starting next weekend, training volume and intensity will be increased. His trainer will continue to monitor Tim’s conditional recovery. Another blood test and general check-up is scheduled for within two weeks," the team concluded.
Last season, Merlier made his Grand Tour debut at the Giro d'Italia and scored a stage win on the first sprint stage to Novara, beating Italian champion Giacomo Nizzolo, Elia Viviani, and wore the ciclamino points jersey. But he left the race after stage 10 citing fatigue.
Merlier then went on to race with Van der Poel at the Tour de France, again finding success on stage 3, with Alpecin-Fenix also getting second on the stage with Jasper Philipsen while Van der Poel was leading the race overall. Merlier exited the Tour de France during stage 9 after being dropped from the gruppetto on a gruelling stage with five major climbs.
He is due to reprise his Tour de France appearance with Van der Poel in July.
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month*
Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
after your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59
Join now for unlimited access
Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Cyclingnews is the world's leader in English-language coverage of professional cycling. Started in 1995 by University of Newcastle professor Bill Mitchell, the site was one of the first to provide breaking news and results over the internet in English. The site was purchased by Knapp Communications in 1999, and owner Gerard Knapp built it into the definitive voice of pro cycling. Since then, major publishing house Future PLC has owned the site and expanded it to include top features, news, results, photos and tech reporting. The site continues to be the most comprehensive and authoritative English voice in professional cycling.
The latest race content, interviews, features, reviews and expert buying guides, direct to your inbox!
Thank you for signing up to Cyclingnews. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.