Lotto at the Tour: green light for Phil, orange for Mario

We haven't had the Giro yet, but Lotto is already giving us a sneak peak at their Tour de France plans. Philippe Gilbert has decided that he's definitely going and what's more, he wants at least one stage win and the yellow jersey. My VDS team is happy.

It ain't all sunshine, happiness and smiles for Lotto though. Mario Aerts may miss out on France, as he is scheduled to undergo ... heart surgery. More on that, after the jump.

Veteran Mario Aerts has had heart problems all his life, but now the point has come that the surgery can't be put off anymore. An overactive nerve (they think) in his heart causes the heart to beat too fast during training or races. The surgery is minor, and it will only keep from his training bike for a week, but it isn't scheduled til 24 May. So whether or not he'll make the Tour is doubtful.

This may not sound like a big deal to most, as Super Mario isn't the major leader of this team. But to Lotto, and more importantly to VDB, he does matter. Marc Sergeant: "Aerts is more than just a cyclist. He can read the race well, and as roommate for VDB he is very imporant for Jurgen. Someone like him is hard to replace."

Oh, and PS, André is going as well.

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