Silence-Lotto deals with injuries, illness for Omloop Het Volk

By Susan Westemeyer

Team Silence-Lotto has to juggle its line-up for the upcoming Omloop Het Volk, with one sick rider having to drop out, but another injured rider ready to come back.

Greg van Avermaet, 22, was unable to ride in the Volta ao Algarve because of a stomach virus, and is now having problems with his balance. "The virus has moved to affect my sense of balance," he told "The doctors can't tell me how long the problem will drag on. It is getting better, but cruelly slowly." He knows he won't be able to compete in Het Volk, for which he was figured to have good chances. "I don't have any illusions. Unless it would completely go away suddenly and rapidly. But then, I still haven't touched my bike in a week. This is really frustrating, because I was in good form."

As he predicted, Robbie McEwen was back in training Sunday, after crashing out of the Volta ao Algarve Friday, hurting his arm and hand. The injuries turned out not to be serious, and the Australian rode the Het Volk route on Sunday in training. "Everything is OK," he told "The training has gone well. I am ready for the Omloop."

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