Jelle Vanendert out of Piemonte and Lombardia with knee irritation
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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Jelle Vanendert out of Piemonte and Lombardia with knee irritation

by Ben Atkins at 7:37 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Fall Classics, Giro di Lombardia, Injury
Belgian climber ends his 2011 season to avoid recurrence of old injury

jelle vanendertJelle Vanendert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) has decided against taking the start of both today’s Gran Piemonte and Saturday’s Il Lombardia because of an irritation to his knee, according to Het Nieuwsblad. The 26-year-old Belgian climber sat out a big part of the 2010 season after injuring his knee in February’s Rute del Sol and, although he is not in major discomfort, he has taken the decision not to take any risks.

“I’m not really worried,” said Vanendert, according to Sporza. “It doesn’t really hurt; it’s just that an irritating sensation emerged during Paris-Tours. A bit of overload I guess.”

Vanendert was one of Omega Pharma-Lotto’s many revelations of the year, picking up one of the team’s biggest wins in the Tour de France stage to the Plateau de Beille; having finished second to Euskaltel-Euskadi’s Samuel Sánchez at Luz-Ardiden two days before. His eventual twentieth place in Paris could well have been much better had he not lost so much time in the first week.

The Belgian climber’s last minute withdrawal from the Gran Piemonte, along with Jan Bakelants’ dropping out with an injured wrist, means that Belgian champion Philippe Gilbert will only have five teammates to help him attempt to take his third successive victory in the race.

Gilbert will also be going for number three in Lombardia on Saturday, which will be the final event in the International Cycling Union (UCI) WorldTour. Although Gilbert is safely in the lead of the individual ranking, and assured of overall victory, Omega Pharma-Lotto’s lead in the team classification is under threat; particularly from Team Sky, which trails by just twenty points.

“I’m sorry that I won’t be able to defend the team’s first place in the WorldTour,” said Vanendert, “but it would be silly to take risks at the end of the season.”

Although Omega Pharma-Lotto has had to start the Gran Piemonte with just six riders, the team will be back to full strength for Saturday’s Lombardia, with David Boucher and Bart De Clercq stepping in for Vanendert and Bakelants.


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