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Canadian decathlete Pierce LePage not defending Hypo Meeting title this weekend

As each of 23 men settle in the starting blocks for the 100 metres to open the 10-event decathlon at the Hypo Meeting on Saturday, there will be one noticeable absence on the track at Mösle Stadium in Götzis, Austria.

The name of defending champion Pierce LePage, from Whitby, Ont., did not appear on the start list Friday.

The 28-year-old has endured his share of injuries, including a torn patellar tendon in his left knee while capturing a silver medal at the 2022 World Athletics Championships, but there was no indication this week from Athletics Canada that LePage is hurt.

"There is unfortunately nothing to report," an Athletics Canada spokesperson said in an emailed statement to CBC Sports.

LePage, the world's top-ranked men's decathlete, has yet to compete outdoors this year. Most recently, according to his World Athletics profile, he performed in high jump and pole vault on Feb. 10 at the Ontario indoor U18 and open championships in Toronto.

Last May, LePage earned his first international victory since 2019, compiling 8,700 points, one shy of his personal best, to halt fellow Canadian Damian Warner's win streak at six.

WATCH | LePage captures his 1st Hypo Meeting title:

They waged a riveting battle, with LePage holding an insurmountable 206-point lead before cruising to a time of four minutes 45.74 seconds in the 1,500, the final competition of the two-day event.

"It was a battle. It was the toughest decathlon I've done in a long time," LePage said at the time. "All I could do is lay it on the track."

Three months later, LePage and Damian Warner again finished 1-2, the former with an 8,909-point PB to become the first Canadian to win a decathlon world title.

WATCH | LePage delivers personal-best performance