As the classics racing season opens this weekend in Belgium, German superstar John Degenkolb continues his recovery from a horrific training crash in January without a firm date on his comeback.
Degenkolb already threw in the towel on the entire classics racing season this year.
Last year’s winner of Milano-Sanremo and Paris-Roubaix has been able to resume training, but a Giant – Alpecin official told VeloNews, “we cannot make any prediction on his return to racing.”
With Degenkolb out, Giant loses its best option for the northern classics, and has been forced to hit the reset button on its priorities. As a result, it has opted out of Saturday’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, and instead will bet on racing for the sprint in Sunday’s Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.
“The team is progressing well, and bouncing back from a difficult period following the training accident,” said Giant coach Aike Visbeek in a team release. “The riders are very eager to kick off the classics season … the objective is to support Zico [Waeytens] and Søren [Kragh Andersen], and to bring them as fresh as possible to the finale.”
Degenkolb was seriously injured, along with six of his teammates, in a head-on collision with a motorist who was driving in the wrong lane along Spain’s Mediterranean coast January 23. Warren Barguil said, “we all could have died,” while Chad Haga said, “it could have been even worse.”
Of the seven riders involved in the crash, only Fredrik Ludvigsson, who races this weekend at a pair of semi-classics in France, has been able to return to competition.