Defending champion Yves Lampaert will be back on the start line this week.
The Tour of Slovakia returns with what will be one of the toughest editions in recent years, one comprising five stages, many of which are suited to attackers. Of course, the sprinters will have some opportunities to be in the limelight, but it’s the twenty classified climbs and the Zilina individual time trial that are expected to make the difference in the general classification.
Yves Lampaert, who broke his collarbone in a crash at last month’s Milano-Torino, will make his long-awaited return to competition at the race which he won last year, when he became the first ever Belgian victor thanks to a consistent ride on the flat and in the hills.
“I’m very happy to be at the start of this very nice race. It will be my third consecutive participation and I love going there. It’s a very beautiful country and our partner Janom is a race sponsor and they always take good care of us. So yes, I look forward to try to defend my title, even though I know it will be very difficult because it will be my first race after my injury and I’m not sure yet how good my condition is. I’m curious to see how it will go but for sure I’m very excited to be back with the Wolfpack”, said the 29-year-old Belgian.
New Zealand National Champion Shane Archbold, US ITT Champion Ian Garrison, Alvaro Hodeg, Pieter Serry and neo-pros Jannik Steimle and Mauri Vansevenant will round out Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s roster for the 64th edition of the race that saw our team claim a total of six wins in the last two years.
“Slovakia is a beautiful country and we are happy to return there. We have a balanced team, with riders for all kinds of terrain. Yves is returning after his Milano-Torino injury and for him it will be important to ease back into competition. Alvaro can get a nice result in the sprints, where he’ll rely on Jannik and Shane, while Pieter and Mauri can try something in the GC, especially as they come here from Coppi e Bartali, where they showed a good condition. Last but not least, we have Ian, whom we are curious to see in the short time trial. All in all, we look forward to this week”, said Deceuninck – Quick-Step sports director Brian Holm.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s presence at the start was welcomed by Jan Miskovsky, the CEO of Janom: “We are very glad that after long-term international cooperation in sports marketing and partnership, the Deceuninck – Quick-Step riders are able to regularly participate in the Tour of Slovakia. The organisers have prepared some beautiful stages and I hope the Deceuninck – Quick-Step riders will be again in the mix for victory this year and add more good results to their palmares.”