Evenepoel, Bennett restart season at Burgos

Belgian team brings all-star cast for first race back after COVID stop.

Photo: Deceuninck-Quick-Step

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Remco Evenepoel‘s road to the Giro d’Italia heads through Spain. Burgos, to be specific, with the Belgian budding superstar set to return to competition at the five-day Vuelta a Burgos at the end of July.

The race will be the first for Deceuninck-Quick-Step riders coming off a training camp at Val di Fassa in Italy starting next week. After three months without racing due to the coronavirus, everyone is keen to see how they react to the speed and fury of the peloton.

“It will be important to discover how the body reacts to this first event, to the hot temperatures and tough route, but the motivation is there,” Evenepoel said Friday. “Five months without racing is a long time, this situation has been completely new for all of us and we are curious to get back that racing feeling and see where we stand after all this time.”

Evenepoel has put the Giro at the center of his ambitions in cycling’s new-look calendar, and will use the five-stage Burgos tour as a chance to restart the racing legs. Sprinter ace Sam Bennett is also slated to start, who should have three chances to go for his first victory in months.

“It feels like the first day of school all over again,” Bennett said of the prospect of returning to racing. “We didn’t have much of a season so far this year, so we are eager to do what we love the most again. Burgos will be a nice occasion to see how the form is and test myself. People miss cycling a lot and I’m sure everyone will be happy to have some racing again.”

Bennett, who is expected to start the Tour de France at the end of August, will be joined by a strong lead-out train that includes Shane Archbold, Yves Lampaert and Michael Mørkøv.

“All the guys on the team – riders and staff – are excited to start racing again,” said sports director Geert Van Bondt. “Many teams will recommence their season in Burgos, so we can expect a very strong field. We have two guys with whom we’ll try getting some good results there. Remco, who will have the support of João Almeida and Andrea Bagioli, and Sam, who can count on a strong lead-out train . The course is a challenging one, but that doesn’t scare us, it just motivates us to show what we’re capable of, even more now after such a long break.”

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