Knee pain has forced Australian sprinter Robbie McEwen to pull out of what was to have been his comeback race, the Eneco Tour, his Katusha team announced Monday.
McEwen suffered several injuries, including a fractured tibia, in a crash on the Tour of Belgium at the end of May.
But despite hoping to make a comeback at the Eneco Tour, the 12-time Tour de France stage winner has been advised to wait.
“Doctors can’t guarantee him that his knee will support the intense, repetitive efforts of racing,” one of his team managers, Bart Leysen, said.
McEwen has competed in recent weeks, finishing second in a post-Tour de France criterium in Aalst, won by Britain’s Mark Cavendish (Columbia-HTC).
A day later he finished eighth in the Diksmuide criterium, and on August 5 was third in the Dernycriterium in Antwerp.
The eight-day Eneco Tour, now in its fifth year, begins on Tuesday with a prologue over 4.4km in Rotterdam then rides over the Netherlands and Belgium before ending with a 13.1km time trial on stage 7 on August 25.
Two-time defending champion José Ivan Gutiérrez (Caisse d’Epargne) is back to defend his title against the ProTour teams plus invitees Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator and Vacansoleil.
Freshly crowned Vattenfall Cyclassics champ Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) is penciled in to start, along with an all-star sprinters cast that includes Tom Boonen (Quick Step), J.J. Haedo and Matt Goss (Saxo Bank), Robert Forster (Milram), Greg Van Avermaet (Silence-Lotto), Graeme Brown (Rabobank) and Daniele Bennati (Liquigas). —Agence France Press contributed to this story.