Devolder had several hard crashes during the Flanders Classic and suffers from internal bruises, periostitis and myofascial damage all over the left side of the body, most severely on the left elbow. Although he was in pain, the Belgian champion completed the reconnaissance ride of the Paris-Roubaix course.
“It was a very hard decision to withdraw Stijn from our line-up. Stijn was to be Cancellara’s first lieutenant, offering us several tactical options between Compiègne and Roubaix. This is a real displeasure for us, but we have no choice. He had too much pain yesterday. He could hardly hold his handlebar and it would not be wise to bring him to start and risk a new crash”, says Sports Director Dirk Demol. “We need seven fit men around Fabian on Sunday. A lot is at stake.”
Stijn Devolder: “This is a huge disappointment for me, obviously. I was completely empty after the training yesterday and in a lot of pain. I love this race, and would have started if it were reasonably possible. I will rest up now. Depending on how my recovery goes, I may start on Wednesday, in the Brabantse Pijl, but it’s too early to make that call.”
Boy Van Poppel will replace Stijn Devolder on Sunday.