Wout van Aert has withdrawn from the Belgian National Road Race Championship due to a knee injury picked up during Jumbo-Visma's training camp in Tignes ahead of the Tour de France.
Van Aert is expected to ride at the Tour, but will miss Sunday's road race to avoid risking his participation at the second Grand Tour of the year.
"I think it's a real shame that I can't defend my jersey. I would normally never forego a Belgian championship," the Belgian rider said.
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"I also regret missing the time trial because it just didn't fit the schedule. However, this is the wisest decision because I don't want to jeopardise the Tour."
According to Jumbo-Visma, Van Aert injured his knee by hitting it against his handlebars during a training ride and that it "caused minor irritation in the past few days".
Van Aert was named in an eight-man team for the Tour earlier this week alongside Primoz Roglic and Jonas Vingegaard. Van Aert will be allowed to pursue the green jersey.
Earlier this month at Criterium du Dauphine, Van Aert took two stage wins and the green jersey as Roglic and Vingegaard finished one-two at the top of the GC standings.
Van Aert’s injury means he is forced to relinquish his Belgian road title, while the schedule means he will not take part in Thursday’s time trial event in Gavere.
The Tour begins in Copenhagen on July 1.
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