Jumbo-Visma this week suffered a number of blows to their Tour de France triumvirate after Tom Dumoulin and Steven Kruijswijk were forced to abandon early spring racing.
The 2017 Giro d'Italia champion, who sat out the Volta a Valencia earlier this month due to illness, announced on Instagram he will now also miss scheduled participation at a training camp this week plus March's Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo.
A Jumbo-Visma spokesperson told Cyclingnews, testing has so far failed to determine Dumoulin's health issues but after "intestinal problems" forced him to DNS while with the team in Valencia, he is suffering from low energy.
"We’ve already tested for Epstein-Barr," sport director Merijn Zeeman said. "and it’s not the case. He was tested just after Valencia with several tests for that sort of thing.
"At the moment I don’t know what the issue is. The medical staff has checked a lot of things but it’s not the sort of thing that’s easy to find. There is a wide variation of things for us to check and hopefully next week, after more tests, we can communicate what the problem is. We don’t know what it is yet.”
It is much the same story for Steven Kruijswijk, although it's the Dutchman's knee that will see him skip a planned Paris-Nice start with Primoz Roglic.
Kruijswijk trained with the Slovenian in Tenerife early this year but his knee caused some issues.
"That’s why he skipped the Alicante camp last month," a Jumbo-Visma spokesperson told Cyclingnews. "As a result, his season debut is a bit delayed as well. The initial plan was to start in Paris-Nice but we prefer to delay his start a bit."
The team hope Dumoulin and Kruijswijk will start Volta a Catalunya in late March.
The news for Jumbo-Visma comes after making the unprecedented move of naming their Tour de France team in December.
While Jumbo-Visma says they are not going to panic, the pair's lack of base race miles at the end of March going into April must raise some concerns.
Dumoulin has not raced since a knee injury forced him out of June's Criterium du Dauphine. Kruijswijk raced the Japan Cup Cycle Road Race in mid-October but the week before, he DNF'd Lombardia after abandoning the Vuelta a Espana (DNS Stage 4) with a knee injury sustained in his team's spectacular crash during the opening time trial.
EF Pro Cycling giving it some in Colombia
Speaking of team time trials, EF Pro Cycling won the opening test against the clock at Tour Colombia, defeating more fancied competitors Deceuninck-Quick Step and Ineos by significant margins, leading a number of tech heads to conclude it was the team's tubeless wheel/tyre combo that won it.
Armed with their Vision Metron 81 SL Disc wheels and Vittoria tubeless tyres, the men in pink covered the 16.7km course in 18 minutes and one second, coming home 45 faster than the Belgian registered squad and 46 seconds ahead of Ineos.
The team time trial victory set up three of EF Pro Cycling's riders - Sergio Higuita, Daniel Martinez, Jonathan Caicedo - in the top four on GC after four stages - Higuita now holding a 50 second lead over 2019 Tour de France champion Egan Bernal (Ineos) after a searing attack on the category 3 finish in Santa Rosa on Stage 4 overnight.
Sending our best wishes to Kai Sakakibara
Australian BMX rider Kai Sakakibara was involved in a serious accident at last week's UCI BMX World Cup in Bathurst, later cancelled due to torrential conditions, and is now in an induced coma at Canberra Hospital where he is in a critical but stable condition.
Cycling Australia sent out a statement on Wednesday detailing his status on behalf of his tight knit family, and his sister and fellow BMX rider Saya posted a message on her Instagram.
Our hearts and thoughts go out to Kai, Saya, Martin and Yuki at this time.
New sponsor for Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team
Sponsor Boels-Dolmans announced at the end of last year it would not support the cycling team named in its image beyond 2020. But the world's number one women's cycling team didn't have to wait too long to find a new sponsor, SD Worx, a Belgian based payroll services company, coming on board until 2024.
Cycling Australia announces para-cycling road worlds team
The team ready to set the roads alight in Belgium in June:
Alistair Donohoe (VIC) C5 - 2019 time trial world champion
Darren Hicks (SA) C2 - 2019 time trial world champion
Stuart Jones (NSW) T2 - 2019 World Championships time trial silver medallist
Meg Lemon (SA) C4 - 2019 World Championships road & time trial bronze medallist
Emily Petricola (VIC) C4 - 2019 time trial world champion
Stuart Tripp (VIC) H5 - 2019 World Championships 5th road; 4th time trial
Grant Allen (SA) H4 - 2019 Canada World Cup silver &2019 Italian World Cup bronze
And ICYMI, read the Australian Cycling Team's report from a eight-rainbow weekend at the para-cycling track worlds.
Love it when the kids think they're old
Freshly crowned Vuelta a San Juan Internacional champion posted this #tbt throwback to, oh last week:
And while we're on the socials, gotta love this epic (unintentional) trolling by Movistar - how to get your logo on a rival team's jersey? Award him a prize with your logo on it. (How do you get most combative for a TTT? Asking for a friend).
Oh and we loved this:
Cycling currently LIVE streaming on SBS:
If you can't stay up with the rest of the couch peloton to watch Tour de la Provence - we get it, you're banking your sleep for the classics and it's super early in the season.
But it features a number of quality riders honing their form for the classics or longer stage races coming up soon and it's too beautiful to miss out on so catch up via our highlights and replays.
Tour de le Provence - Stage 1 Highlights
Tour de le Provence - Stage 1 Replay:
Tour de le Provence - Stage 2 Highlights
Tour de le Provence - Stage 2 Replay:
Coming soon to SBS
Save the date! There's this many days until:
21 days: Paris-Nice Sunday 8-15 March LIVE on SBS/SBS On Demand & our site
36 days: Volta a Catalunya 23 - 28 March LIVE on SBS Viceland/SBS On Demand & our site
49 days: Tour of Flanders 5 April - LIVE on SBS Viceland/SBS On Demand & our site
56 days: Paris Roubaix 12 April - LIVE on SBS Viceland/SBS On Demand & our site
63 days: Amstel Gold 19 April - LIVE on SBS Viceland/SBS On Demand & our site
66 days: Fleche Wallone - LIVE on SBS Viceland/SBS On Demand & our site
70 days: Liege-Bastogne-Liege - LIVE on SBS Viceland/SBS On Demand & our site