It must be frustrating for Julian not able to race the Ardennes Classics due to knee injury, the most important races for him. With the addition of Gilbert, the team is even better than last year.
Looking back at the fall on stage 3 of the Tour of Basque country. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRkNy20mD24
At 50.6km(36:30), notice that Julian hand is on the right knee. Thanks to the quick thinking of an Astana staff to stand on the road so that passing cars won’t hit him.
Forward to stage 4, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TosIJh-E58k
At 22.8km(10:11), Julian is not well. The camera returns 2 minutes later, Kirby commented that Julian and the DS are discussing withdrawal. He went on to complete the stage.
It’s obvious that his knee is bothering him; why not get off the bike immediately, save the knee for the Ardennes classics where Julian is the main protagonist for Quick Step in the last 2 years.
I hope Julian is going to win FW and LBL one day and he’s going to win it in Quick-Step team kit. Patrick Lefevere is still looking for team sponsors, the future is uncertain.