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Stuyven to miss Milan-San Remo due to illness

Belgian Jasper Stuyven of Trek-Segafredo pictured at the start of the first stage of 80th edition of the ParisNice
Belgian Jasper Stuyven of Trek-Segafredo at the start of the first stage of 80th edition of Paris-Nice (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Trek-Segafredo announced a last-minute change to their roster for Milan-San Remo, with defending champion Jasper Stuyven out with illness after racing Paris-Nice. Mads Pedersen, winner of stage 3 in the French WorldTour race, will take his place as leader on Saturday.

"Getting sick at this time of the season is a big disappointment," Stuyven said the day before his scheduled pre-race press conference. "Of course, I was excited to race with the number 1 on my back after winning my first Monument last year. I thought I had safely got through Paris-Nice, but obviously I picked something up there."

So many riders became sick or injured at Paris-Nice that only 59 riders finished the race, the least classified finishers since 1985. Many were reportedly victims of a non-COVID-19 virus that circulated in the race entourage.

"For me, the focus is now on getting healthy before the upcoming cobbled classics," Stuyven said.

Pedersen, clearly on sparkling form after wins in Paris-Nice, Étoile de Bessèges and a podium in the GP la Marseillaise, intended to skip Milan-San Remo to build his peak form toward Paris-Roubaix, which is one week later this season due to the French elections. Instead, he will make his debut in the race.

"As I said in many interviews last week, it wasn't the plan for me to race Milan-San Remo, but sometimes plans change," Pedersen said. 

"It's a late change, but I'm feeling motivated and know that my shape is good. Of course, it's a big pity for Jasper that he doesn't get the chance to defend his title, but we will do our best to make it two in a row for the team."

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Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Deputy Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. A former elite-level road racer who dabbled in cyclo-cross and track, Laura has a passion for all three disciplines. When not working she likes to go camping and explore lesser traveled roads, paths and gravel tracks.