Tim Wellens’ struggles with an undiagnosed illness have forced him out of the Tour de France and potentially the Belgian national championships.
The year started well for the Lotto Soudal rider when he took the Etoile de Besseges, but an illness at the Tour de la Provence has left him unable to train to his full potential.
He has competed for most of the year but has not enjoyed the level of success he would expect.
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Lotto Soudal have released a statement giving an update on his participation in coming events, and the decisions taken in order to get to the bottom of his health problems.
"At the moment, my body isn’t reacting to the training stimulus the way I want it to. I can’t push the amount of watts I need to do well at the Tour de France," Wellens confirmed.
"I don’t yet know what’s the reason behind this. Something isn’t right and needs to be solved. I am travelling to Belgium now to undergo additional examinations. Together with the team, I decided not to take any risks for the rest of the season. To start at the Tour could jeopardize a lot."
"Now, I am going to have a good period of rest so I can find the good feeling again," continued Wellens.
"Of course I am disappointed not to be at the start of the most important race of the year, but there are indeed still a lot of nice races to come after the Tour. And that is where my focus will be. I sincerely wish my teammates all the best. I will be cheering for Lotto Soudal, from home in Monaco."
Covid-19 has been ruled out as a cause of the problem by the Belgian team.
Lotto-Soudal’s general manager John Lelangue said: "It is a wise decision not to start. At the Tour, there is no time to wait and see. Besides, the season is not over yet for Tim. Just look at what he achieved at the Vuelta last year. The most important thing for us is that Tim gets back to his old self.”
With Caleb Ewan expected to lead the Lotto Soudal in France, there remains a few days before the team are expected to announce a reconsidered line-up in Wellens’ absence.
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