Stijn Devolder set to miss Tour de France again
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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Stijn Devolder set to miss Tour de France again

by Xylon van Eyck at 7:40 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
The Belgian’s condition is not where he’d hoped

Stijn DevolderStijn Devolder has expressed his intentions of missing this year’s Tour de France. The two time Tour of Flanders champion is currently riding the Tour de Suisse and had hoped to regain some condition ahead of the biggest race of the year. However, he is currently in a lowly 132nd position overall, nearly an hour and a half down on race leader Damiano Cunego.

“If it depends on me, I will not go to the Tour,” Devolder said, speaking to De Standaard. “I'm just not fit. I also had to start from scratch after the death of Wouter Weylandt [his best friend who died during the Giro D’Italia-ed.]”

Devolder’s Dutch team Vacansoleil-DCM will be making its Tour debut this year. Team manager Hilaire Van der Schueren says he will respect the Belgian National Champion’s final decision.

“If he does not want it, he should not start. But I still hope he does. On Wednesday we will sit together with the medical team and make the right decision. We still have two scenarios for the Tour, one with and one without Devolder.”

Devolder was once heralded as a Belgian major stage race hopeful, and has expressed his desire to refocus his season. He has set his sights on the overall classification at this year’s Vuelta a España. “I would like to start training in July with the ambition of the overall classification of the Vuelta,” he said.

The 31 year old has had success in the Spanish race before, finishing eleventh overall in 2006. Since then his participation in Grand Tours has been less than desirable. He started the 2008 Tour de France as team leader with high ambitions, only to abandon the race on stage fifteen.

Devolder moved to Vacansoleil-DCM this season after a hot and cold three years at Belgian team QuickStep. He had a turbulent relationship with team manager Patrick Lefevere, who was never afraid to criticise the rider publicly.

“In three years with QuickStep, he has won the Tour of Flanders twice and the Belgian Championships twice, but I expected more of him. Who knows if he can do even more if he gets his head straight” he said in an interview with De Morgen.

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