Martin, Gilbert and Alaphilippe lead Quick-Step Floors at Milan-Torino

Belgian team back in Italy as Il Lombardia looms

The Quick-Step Floors team returns to the Milano-Torino race on Thursday after a five-year absence, as team leaders Dan Martin, Julian Alaphilippe and Philippe Gilbert test their form before Saturday's Il Lombardia.

They will be backed by a strong squad that included Gianluca Brambilla, Laurens De Plus, Dries Devenyns, Bob Jungels and Davide Martinelli.

Thanks to the well-organised Italian end of season race calendar, Milano-Torino has attracted 14 WorldTour teams.

Also expected to race are Giro d'Italia winner Tom Dumoulin and Tour de France stage winner Warren Barguil (Team Sunweb), Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac), Michal Kwiatkowski, Mikel Landa (Team Sky), Italian national champion Fabio Aru (Astana) and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) who finished second in Tuesday's Tre Valli Varesine.

Gianni Moscon is still listed on Team Sky's roster despite FDJ's Sebastian Reichenbach filing a police complaint against him over a clash in the Tre Valli Varesine on Tuesday. Reichenbach claims Moscon deliberately caused him to crash on a descent, but the Italian said Reichenbach had lost control on the rough roads and denied causing the incident.

The 186km race starts south of Milan and ends with two laps of a hilly circuit that includes the 4.9-kilometre climb to the finish at the Basilica di Superga overlooking Turin. Colombia's Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) has ended his season and thus will not return to defend his 2016 title but the uphill finish should suit Martin and Alaphilippe. The eventual winner will automatically be a favourite for Saturday's Il Lombardia.

Martin and Alaphilippe have not raced since the UCI Road World Championships but the Frenchman showed impressive form with a late attack in Bergen that was caught just a kilometre from the finish.

Martin has often impressed in the final races of the European season. He won Il Lombardia in 2014 and was fourth in 2013.

Cyclingnews will have live coverage of Milano-Torino and a full race report, photo gallery and news from the race.

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