Knee problems knock Leukemans out of Classics

One of Vacansoleil's main Classics protagonists Björn Leukemans will be out of competition for the remainder of the spring after suffering unresolved knee pain.

The 34-year-old Belgian began having pain after his 14th place finish at the Tour of Flanders and was forced to sit out of Paris-Roubaix, a race in which he finished fourth in 2007.

Even after a week of rest and treatment, the continued pain led his team doctors to suspect a torn meniscus. Leukemans will undergo further examinations on Tuesday in an attempt to identify the exact nature of the injury.

"It is difficult not to ride in the races I worked towards," Leukemans said in a team press release. "My knee doesn't look good at all and the fear of the doctor is that it needs an operation."

Last season, Leukemans finished in the top 10 of the Amstel Gold Race and Liège - Bastogne - Liège, and his absence leaves a gap in the Vacansoleil roster for the Ardennes Classics.

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