BINCHE, Belgium (AFP) — On-form Belgian Philippe Gilbert will miss next month’s Giro d’Italia, his Quick-Step team said on Tuesday. Due to a kidney injury, the 34-year-old spent two nights in hospital following his victory in Sunday’s Amstel Gold Race and has now been ordered to take two weeks of total rest before restarting training.
“It’s a big blow for me to miss the Giro, a beautiful race in which I’ve enjoyed success several times in the past,” said Gilbert. “But these kind of injuries are always delicate, and it’s recommended not to rush things, so extending my recovery period is the best decision we could take.”
Quick-Step had already announced on Monday that Gilbert would miss the rest of the Ardennes classics season — which began with last Sunday’s Amstel race and concludes this coming Sunday with Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The team will also be without young French star Julian Alaphilippe who was second at 2015 Liège. He is recovering from a knee injury.
Alongside compatriot Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Poland’s Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky), whom he beat in a sprint finish for his fourth Amstel success, Gilbert has been one of the stand-out performers during the first few months of the season.
Two weeks ago he won one of cycling’s monument races — the Tour of Flanders — and also claimed victory at Three Days of De Panne.
He has won three stages at the Giro in the past. This year’s 100th edition of the Italian grand tour begins May 5 in Sardinia, ending on May 28 in Milan.