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Heart problem continues to sideline Vansummeren indefinitely

Johan Vansummeren in action during stage 1 in Qatar.

Johan Vansummeren in action during stage 1 in Qatar. (Image credit: Tim de Waele/

Having missed the 'opening weekend' of the classics with a heart problem that was initially discovered during a training camp in Granada, Johan Vansummeren could miss the entire spring according to AG2R La Mondiale's medical director Eric Bouvat. The 2011 Paris-Roubaix champion started his season at the Tour of Qatar, finishing 25th overall, before heading to the Tour of Oman where he was a non-starter on stage 3 at the request of team doctors.

"It is difficult to draw conclusions," said Bouvat to media at Paris-Nice. "The problems do not suddenly discontinue, it is a complex situation. Little things that have succeeded one another brought to light that something was not right. 

Bouvat added the 35-year-old is consistently undergoing testing on his heart and only when the Belgian gets the all clear will he return to racing.

"Vansummeren is undergoing various examinations in Belgium. Only after weeks, perhaps months, can we have an indication of what exactly is going on and when he would be allowed to resume," said Bouvat. "There's not much more I can say at this time. With a broken arm, you know that someone is on the sidelines for six weeks, but with the heart, you have to be careful.

"Everything should be investigated and you especially do not take risks. What is now important is the health of Johan. "

Vansummeren is the final year of a two-year contract with AG2R La Mondiale, having joined the team from Garmin, and is aiming to return to racing before the year is out.

"I do not want to take any risks because I need to be as healthy as possible to start competition again. I hope to be quickly reassured and, evidently, to ride with the AG2R La Mondiale team roster again during this season," Vansummeren said in a statement from his team at the time of the initial diagnosis.

While AG2R-La Mondiale will miss Vansummeren should he be ruled out entirely from the classics, 23-year-old Alexis Gougeard impressed with fifth place at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and will offer the team another option across the spring.

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