Orica-GreenEdge's Simon Gerrans, winner of Milan-San Remo in 2012, is out of tomorrow's 105th edition of the race due to illness.
The Australian UCI WorldTour team's sports director, Matt White, said: “Simon came down sick overnight. The decision was taken today that he would not start. He’s not in any state to race any race let alone our longest and one of our most difficult races of the year in 24 hours.”
“Today’s news comes as a big disappointment for Simon and the team, but we need to look ahead,” he went on. “Other riders will now get the chance to step up in the absence of our team’s most reliable athlete.”
White said: “Not too much will change in terms of our plans for tomorrow. Michael [Matthews] will stay our option for the sprint but now Simon Clarke will be given more freedom in the final.”
“Brett [Lancaster] adds a wealth of experience to the roster,” he added. “He will be a very valuable asset for Michael in his pursuit of a big ride tomorrow.”
Gerrans won the 2012 race, in the jersey of Australian national champion, a title he also won in January this year. His Milan-San Remo win came after he followed an attack on the Poggio by Vincenzo Nibali, Fabian Cancellara also getting across.
Earlier this month, allergies forced Gerrans to abandon Paris-Nice.
The other former Milan-San Remo winner in Orica-GreenEdge's squad, 2011 champion Matt Goss, has not been selected for tomorrow's race.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.