Marianne Vos pulls out of Tour of Flanders

ASSISI ITALY SEPTEMBER 13 Arrival Marianne Vos of The Netherlands and Team CCC Liv during the 31st Giro dItalia Internazionale Femminile 2020 Stage 3 a 1422km stage from Santa Fiora to Assisi 413m GiroRosaIccrea GiroRosa on September 13 2020 in Assisi Italy Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images
Marianne Vos (CCC-Liv) won three stages of the Giro Rosa (Image credit: Getty Images)

Pre-race favourite Marianne Vos will not race the Women's Tour of Flanders due to “health issues”, her team has confirmed.

Vos had been expected to start Sunday’s race, but CCC-Liv said that the 2013 champion was “not fit enough to start”. The team said her absence from the start line was not related to Covid-19 but did not elaborate further on her condition.

With Vos missing from the line-up, the team will be led by Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio and Sofia Bertizzolo, who finished fourth in last year’s race.

Moolman-Pasio had a difficult start to the second part of the season after she crashed during training for Strade Bianche and needed 60 stitches to treat her wounds. Since returning to racing, she finished sixth overall at the Giro Rosa, sixth at La Flèche Wallonne and 16th at Liège-Bastogne-Liège. 

Joining Bertizzolo and Moolman-Pasio in the six-rider roster are: Riejanne Markus, who received a last-minute call-up on Saturday morning to replace Vos, Jeanne Korevaar, Evy Kuijpers and Soraya Paladin.

“There are narrow sections in between where we really have to sit in front and be alert,” said directeur sportif Jeroen Blijlevens. “From the Kanarieberg, we follow the traditional final again. The real final is expected to explode on the Kruisberg. We hope we can play it tactically smart.”

Vos is the second pre-race favourite that will not make the start line on Sunday after Alé BTC Ljubljana confirmed Marta Bastianelli would not be able to defend her title. The team had been forced to pull out of Gent-Wevelgem last week after a member of the team tested positive for Covid-19.

The team has been re-tested since, but the results will not be known until today, making it impossible for the team to arrive in Belgium in time for the start.

The Astana Women's Team and Chevalmeire have also pulled out of the race due to coronavirus concerns, while Equipe Paulé Ka have withdrawn from the race after the team was forced to fold following the collapse of its deal with its title sponsor.

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Born in Ireland to a cycling family and later moved to the Isle of Man, so there was no surprise when I got into the sport. Studied sports journalism at university before going on to do a Masters in sports broadcast. After university I spent three months interning at Eurosport, where I covered the Tour de France. In 2012 I started at Procycling Magazine, before becoming the deputy editor of Procycling Week. I then joined Cyclingnews, in December 2013.