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Pauwels, Albert out of Leuven 'cross race with illness

Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb - Revor)

Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb - Revor) (Image credit: Luc Claessen)

A number of riders will be missing from today's cyclo-cross race in Leuven, Belgium, as a series of illnesses are sweeping through the peloton. Kevin Pauwels, Niels Albert, Tom Meeusen and Klaas Vantornout have all had to cancel their appearances.

Pauwels was hit by intestinal problems overnight, his team said. “Thursday he was still alive and well, but this night he suffered from diarrhea. Fortunately he doesn't feel sick otherwise.” 

Like Pauwels, Albert didn't want to take any risks for the rest of the season. However, he has had a cold all week and now “the only cure is rest.”

The Belgian champion was not happy to miss Friday's rest. “Leuven is almost my home, I live only 20 kilometres from the course.  Many of my fans live in this region.”

Vantornout also has a bad cold, and missed Thursday's race as well. Meeusen has come down with a flu “in my whole body.  I have no strength and I feel awful.  I need to slow down.”