Sergeant: Injury means Benoot must be prepared to give up Strade Bianche defence

Lotto Soudal will wait until Thursday before announcing whether Tiesj Benoot will attempt to defend his Strade Bianche title. The Belgian crashed out of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and injured his left knee, opening up a wound that has not properly healed since a crash on stage 7 of the Vuelta a España last year.

Benoot was in strong form before his crash and is desperate to make the start line for Strade Bianche. However, with teammate Tim Wellens not participating in the majority of the Belgian Classics, Lotto Soudal are keen for Benoot to take a long-term view over the spring, rather than fixate on one race.

"Obviously, it’s a sad story because he was good and for once we had two guys up front," Sergeant said. "I hope that happens in the future, but since Tim Wellens’ only Flemish race is that one, it falls on Benoot for the rest of the Classics. So I hope that the wound will heal fast so he can participate in Strade Bianche and then at Tirreno.

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