Deceuninck-Quick Step Classics specialist Zdenek Stybar is out of Sunday's Tour of Flanders after undergoing treatment to correct a heart problem.
The team says that the Czech rider told its medical staff that he felt unwell following Sunday’s Gent-Wevelgem, which he finished in 25th place.
Upon examination, the 35 year old was found to be suffering from a heart rhythm problem, and he was recommended to undergo an ablation procedure.
The procedure, which according to the British Heart Foundation “aims to correct certain types of abnormal heart rhythms by blocking electrical pathways in the heart,” was carried out in Brussels on Wednesday.
While Stybar has been given the all-clear to resume training, Sunday’s race – in Flemish, the Ronde van Vlaanderen – was thought to be too early for him to resume competition.
“I am obviously disappointed to miss De Ronde on Sunday,” said Stybar, a three-time cyclo-cross world champion who has twice been runner-up at Paris Roubaix and is a past winner of Strade Bianche and Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.
He has ridden the Tour of Flanders eight times, twice finishing in the top ten.
“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,” he continued.
“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,” he added.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.