Vanmarcke to test knee on Flanders recon on Friday

Sep Vanmarcke was once one of the top picks in the Tour of Flanders, but his participation now hangs on how his left knee performs on a recon of the race this Friday.

The EF-Education First rider crashed in the E3 BinckBank Classic the previous Friday, with his ribs, ankle and knee taking the impact. He skipped Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday and had hoped to ride Wednesday's Dwars Door Vlaanderen. However, he had to sit that race out as well.

An MRI scan on Tuesday showed a large edema in the knee, with blood, fluid and inflammation in the upper bone layers. "You can't remove it," Vanmarcke told HLN. be.

Normally, one would sit out a month with such an injury, but now Vanmarcke is forced to, "hope that the pain in the left knee becomes bearable." It has forced him to realize that, "all my my work from the past five months has been for nothing. It can become a situation with very serious consequences. I don't want to think negatively, but it is very possible that my spring is over."

He, and the team, are not yet ready to give up hope. In a short statement the team said, "Please note: Sep Vanmarcke will not be at Thursday's media event or training session but will ride Friday's recon. A decision about his Tour of Flanders participation will be made following Friday's ride."

Vanmarcke, 30, has twice finished third in both Flanders. Last year he was third in Dwars door Vlaanderen.

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