Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) has withdrawn from E3 Harelbeke on the morning of the race. His team informed the media via a press release, stating that the Belgian rider had come down with an illness.
"Greg has developed some digestive problems overnight and is not feeling well. The best thing for his health is to rest and recover completely in the next day or two. We will continue to monitor his condition throughout the day." Dr Spinelli the team’s doctor said.
Van Avermaet has had a flying start to the season, wining Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and a stage and the overall in Tirreno Adriatico. Last weekend he finished 5th in Milan-San Remo, after a late attack was foiled.
The 30-year-old once again came into the Belgian cobbled classics as one of BMC’s protected riders but he admitted this morning that his focus was now on recovery and the races ahead including Sunday's Gent-Wevelgem and the following weekend's Tour of Flanders.
"I don't feel 100%. I've had some stomach problems and I didn't have a great night so I think the best decision is to not ride today and focus on Gent-Wevelgem and Ronde Van Vlaanderen." Van Avermaet said.
"I was feeling good yesterday when we trained and still during the press conference in the afternoon. I didn't have any appetite last night and that's when I started to feel unwell. When your body is telling you something I think you have to listen to it."
"I wanted to be there at E3 Harelbeke because it is one of the nicest races of the year, but Ronde van Vlaanderen is only one week away. I'm convinced my teammates will do well today and I'll be watching them. I know they are strong so even without me I think they will have a great race and get some good results. I wish them the best of luck."