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Stybar ruled out of Tour of Flanders after undergoing cardiac ablation procedure

WEVELGEM BELGIUM MARCH 28 Zdenek Stybar of Czech Republic and Team Deceuninck QuickStep Oscar Riesebeek of Netherlands and Team AlpecinFenix during the 83rd GentWevelgem in Flanders Fields 2021 Mens Elite a 254km race from Ypres to Wevelgem Kemmelberg Belvedre Cobblestones GWE21 GWEmen FlandersClassic on March 28 2021 in Wevelgem Belgium Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
Zdenek Stybar tackles the Kemmelberg during Gent-Wevelgem (Image credit: Getty Images)

Zdenek Štybar will miss the Tour of Flanders after undergoing a cardiac ablation procedure in Uccle, Brussels on Wednesday. His Deceuninck-QuickStep team said on Friday that Štybar had reported feeling unwell following his appearance at Gent-Wevelgem last weekend.

"After an investigation by our medical team, it was revealed that the rider from the Czech Republic was suffering from a heart rhythm problem, for which it was recommended that he would undergo an ablation procedure," read the Deceuninck-QuickStep statement.

"This procedure was successfully carried out by Professor Pedro Brugada, on Wednesday, at a Brussels Hospital."

Although Štybar has been given the all-clear to resume training this weekend, Deceunick-QuickStep have opted to leave him out of the selection for the Tour of Flanders as a precaution.

"I am obviously disappointed to miss De Ronde on Sunday," Štybar said. "I have been watching the build-up and excitement on the television and the feel and the passion for this period of racing, with E3, Gent-Wevelgem, Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, is my favourite part of the season. I had been training well and felt that my form going into this weekend was the best that I have had for some time."

“But I am lucky that this is a minor surgery, and I am grateful that it happened and has been fixed, not only with the perspective of the rest of my season, but also my overall health. After a huge check-up it was nice to know that it was nothing more serious. I will take some days off now to relax with my son and my wife and then look forward to starting training again.”

Stybar performed strongly at the E3 Saxo Bank Classic last week, where he placed 5th in a race won by his teammate Kasper Asgreen, and he was due to be a key element in Deceuninck-QuickStep’s Tour of Flanders line-up.

The Czech is the third high-profile rider to undergo a cardiac ablation procedure so far in 2021. Diego Ulissi and Elia Viviani both underwent procedures in Ancona in February. Viviani made a rapid return to racing and he claimed his first win for Cofidis at Cholet-Pays de Loire last weekend. Ulissi is due to return to competition at the GP Miguel Indurain on Saturday.

"I would like to thank the team’s doctors, professor Brugada, and the staff at the Uccle Hospital for the great care that they afforded me, and at the same time, wish my teammates all the best for Sunday," said Štybar.

World champion Julian Alaphilippe will lead Deceuninck-QuickStep on Sunday, with Asgreen, Yves Lampaert, Florian Sénéchal, Tim Declercq and Dries Devenyns also set to feature. The full seven-man selection will be confirmed during the team’s traditional pre-Ronde press conference on Friday afternoon.

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