Marianne Vos and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig will not compete at Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes on Sunday. Although both riders were initially on the event's preliminary start list, their respective teams, Jumbo-Visma and FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope, confirmed to Cyclingnews that they will not participate in the final Ardennes Classics.
Marianne Vos was one of the favourites for Paris-Roubaix but returned a positive test for COVID-19 on the morning of the event held on April 16. The current cyclo-cross World Champion, who finished runner-up to Lizzie Deignan in the inaugural edition of Paris-Roubaix Femmes last October, said she was enormously disappointed to have to sit out but that she supported the team's policy.
"I have to admit that my first thought when I saw the result was: can I get around this? But immediately I realised, 'no'. Racing is beautiful, but health always comes first. Luckily until now the symptoms are mild and hopefully I will be soon on the road again," Vos wrote in a post on Instagram on Tuesday.
Vos opted to skip Amstel Gold Race on April 10, an event she won last year, as part of her build up and greater focus on Paris-Roubaix.
Following her positive test for the COVID-19 coronavirus, she not only missed Paris-Roubaix but also La Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday, a race she has won five times in previous editions, and she will miss Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday.
Jumbo-Visma confirmed to Cyclingnews that competing in Liège-Bastogne-Liège was a little too soon for Vos' recovery. However, she will begin preparing for the summer season with a team training camp in May, and a focus on competing at the Dutch Championships, Giro d'Italia Donne and Tour de France Femmes.
Uttrup Ludwig has also been sidelined from racing since she tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of Amstel Gold Race. Normally a major contender for the Ardennes Classics, the Danish all-rounder has also missed La Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
The French team confirmed to Cyclingnews that Jade Wiel will replace Uttrup Ludwig on their roster for the race on Sunday.
Despite being down a major player for the Ardennes Classics this year, FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope have won the first two events with Marta Cavalli. The Italian attacked after the Cauberg to win solo at Amstel Gold Race and she proved to be the strongest rider on the Mur de Huy to win La Flèche Wallonne.
Cavalli and FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine are now on the verge of winning all three of the Ardennes Classics, a feat only accomplished by Dutchwoman Anna van der Breggen in 2017.
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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in cycling from the community and grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all men's and women's races including Spring Classics, Grand Tours, World Championships and Olympic Games, and writes and edits news and features. As the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten also coordinates and oversees the global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.
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