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Gilbert to make return this weekend

Belgian champion Philippe Gilbert has made a quicker than expected recovery from a kidney tear and will return to racing this weekend.

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BRUSSELS (AFP) — Belgian champion Philippe Gilbert has made a quicker than expected recovery from a kidney tear and will return to racing this weekend, his Quick-Step team said on Wednesday.

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Just over a week ago, the 34-year-old was ruled out next month’s Giro d’Italia after doctors ordered him to take two weeks of total rest before returning to training.

But Quick-Step said he’d “received good news from the doctors, who gave him the green light to start training again.”

He is due to race in a couple of low-key Belgian events on Saturday and Sunday. The first is his teammate Tom Boonen’s farewell race in Zilvermeer, and Sunday is the Philippe Gilbert Classic in Aywaille.

Quick-Step gave no indication as to whether this meant he would still miss the Giro but said his new “racing schedule” would be published in a few days.

Gilbert spent a couple of nights in hospital due to the kidney problem after winning the Amstel Gold one-day classic on April 16.

He had been in great form this year, winning the prestigious monument one-day classic Tour of Flanders two weeks before that.