Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) will now miss Liège-Bastogne-Liège after initially being added to the British team's roster as a late inclusion. The Amstel Gold Race runner-up crashed in Wednesday's La Flèche Wallonne and although he finished sixth in the race he has not recovered in time for Sunday's Monument.
"Bad news for fans - he will now miss #LBL, as he's still feeling the effects of his crash at Fleche on Wednesday. Good news - he's resting up, and will be ready for his first MTB race of the season in Switzerland next weekend," his team announced on Twitter.
Eddie Dunbar has been added to the Ineos team for Sunday's race with the confirmed line-up made up of Richard Carapaz, Tao Geoghegan Hart, Michal Golas, Michał Kwiatkowski, Luke Rowe, Adam Yates, and Dunbar.
Pidcock has been a revelation this spring since moving into the WorldTour earlier in the season. He finished third in Kuurne - Bruxelles - Kuurne, and then backed up that result with fifth in Strade Bianche. The 21-year-old then beat Wout van Aert and Matteo Trentin to win De Brabantse Pijl, before narrowly missing out to Van Aert in Amstel Gold Race with the pair separated in a close photo finish.
"Without Liège, it gives us more time to recover and prepare for the mountain bike," Pidcock’s coach, Kurt Bogaerts, told Cyclingnews earlier in the season. "The unknown is how long he can hold his form, especially after a busy cyclo-cross schedule in the winter."
The loss of Pidcock robs Ineos Grenadiers of one of their possible leaders but in Kwiatkowski, the team has a former world champion and a rider who has improved in recent weeks with eighth in Amstel Gold and then 23rd in La Fleche Wallonne, where he helped set up Pidcock on the final climb.
“I’m excited. It’s always the finish of my spring block and this year it’s been super tricky coming into the Ardennes with my broken rib, but I feel great to be honest," Kwiatkowski said ahead of Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
“I’ve taken a different approach, going into this period with an altitude camp. I felt wonderful in Amstel, Flèche, and we’ve had some great performances from the team. Tom nearly had it in Amstel and I’ve enjoyed the last two races so much, racing with these boys."
“In the last couple of years I felt a little bit alone sometimes as the leader, but this year we have so many options and we can play the racing game differently. It’s just great.
“I always believe in the Classics that you should always have some cards to play, and we have those in Liege, even though we will miss Tom. We can support each other, and Amstel was a good example - we were in the winning moves many times. If a Grenadier is at the front of the bunch, ahead, we’re happy. That’s what we’re aiming for. We will all celebrate."
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