Bart De Clercq, newly signed with Wanty-Groupe Gobert from Lotto Soudal, will not be able to start the season on time with his new squad after suffering a broken hip as the result of a crash in training.
The 31-year-old underwent surgery in Herentals, Belgium, to fix the break, which involved both the head and neck of his left femur.
Wanty team doctor Joost De Maeseneer explained that it was a severe break that required screws in the femur.
"It is difficult to estimate a return in competition. Normally Bart can only resume light training in about six weeks. Returning to competition is a matter of months," he said.
De Clercq is best known for his victory in stage 7 of the 2011 Giro d'Italia in Montevergine de Mercogliano, his Grand Tour debut. Since then he's raced 10 more Grand Tours, coming 14th in the Vuelta a España in 2015, and was second overall and won a stage in the Tour de Pologne the same year.
He signed a two-year deal with Wanty-Groupe Gobert with the aim of sharing his experience with the team's younger riders.
The rest of the team heads to Benidorm for a training camp before beginning the season at the GP la Marseillaise.