The Omega Pharma-Quickstep team will be down one strong man for the Dwars door Vlaanderen after Sylvain Chavanel was benched to speed his recovery from the freezing conditions endured in Milan-San Remo.
Chavanel made the winning split in the Italian Classic, but finished just off the podium in the sprint. According to the team, the Frenchman is suffering from a cold, and will not take the start "as a precautionary measure". He is slated to be on the line for the E3 Harelbeke on Friday.
Directeur Sportif Wilfried Peeters is not concerned about the strength of the team, which will seek to help Niki Terpstra to a repeat victory in the Belgian semi-classic. Last year, Terpstra left his breakaway companions behind on the Oude Kwaremont, then soloed to the win for some 40km.
"Only Niki Terpstra and Stijn Vandenbergh rode Milano - Sanremo, so the other riders at this race will be fresh," Peeters said. "As usual the crucial points of the race will be the Paterberg and the Oude-Kwaremont. However, another key factor will be the weather. They forecasted six degrees [Celsius] and rain, so it will be a completely different race than the sunny weather of last year."
Whiel Quickstep will start with a full team, Terpstra's breakaway companion Jelle Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) was one of eight riders who dropped out and will not be replaced for Wednesday's race. The young Belgian has been suffering from knee problems. The list of scratches also includes Heinrich Haussler (IAM), Ben Swift (Sky), Matti Breschel and Jonathan Cantwell (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Baden Cooke (Orica-GreenEdge).
Saxo-Tinkoff will only start Dwars door Vlaanderen with six riders, says directeur Tristan Hoffman. "Breschel, who was our leader, is out, as is Cantwell," he told HLN.be. "Breschel will resume in the E3 Harelbeke and will continue to work toward Paris-Roubaix. But there is good news for Marko Kump. He will resume after a complicated nasal fracture he sustained during the prologue of the Three Days of West Flanders."
"We go Wednesday meesluipen with others. I expect some of Michael Morkov and Jonas Aaen Jörgensen.