Edvald Boasson Hagen will miss Saturday’s Belgian season opener Omloop Het Nieuwsblad due to illness. He will be replaced in Sky’s line-up by Australian Chris Sutton.
Boasson Hagen came down with a cold after racing in the Tour of the Algarve last week, where the Norwegian scored a stage win. Sky went on to win the race overall with Richie Porte, with Bradley Wiggins winning the final time trial stage.
“It’s disappointing because Omloop Het Nieuwsblad is a race I enjoy, but it’s good that I’ve got this cold out of the way sooner rather than later,” said Boasson Hagen.
“It would have been worse if it had come before the Tour of Flanders, or Paris-Roubaix, and I’ll be able to build my form back up at Tirreno-Adriatico before the Monuments begin.”
Sutton will ride in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad with Sky team-mates Jeremy Hunt, Ian Stannard, Juan Antonio Flecha, Michael Barry, Bernhard Eisel, Mathew Hayman and Christian Knees. Flecha finished last year’s race in second place and won the 2010 edition.
Sutton will then ride in Sunday’s Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, where he is defending champion. He will be joined this year by Mark Cavendish.
Last year, Boasson Hagen won two stages of the Tour de France and the Eneco Tour overall.