Julian Alaphilippe, Kasper Asgreen, and Remco Evenepoel spearheaded Deceuninck-QuickStep’s first recon in months with the Classics contingent gathering in Belgium on Tuesday for the start of a short training camp.
Racing has either been postponed or cancelled since mid-March and although a new race calendar has been created by the UCI, teams and riders are still getting used to the new normal within cycling.
On Tuesday members of the Belgian team rode the new course for Gent-Wevelgem, which is scheduled to take place on October 11.
Alaphilippe, Asgreen and Evenepoel were joined by Davide Ballerini, Sam Bennett, Tim Declercq, Dries Devenyns, Fabio Jakobsen, Bob Jungels, Iljo Keisse, Yves Lampaert, Michael Mørkøv, Florian Sénéchal, Pieter Serry, Stijn Steels, Jannik Steimle, Zdenek Stybar, and Bert Van Lerberghe.
“It’s been a while since we’ve been together,” said directeur sportif, Tom Steels.
“It’s going to be strange, but it was time to start again. Every rider followed his individual program, some outside, some on their Tacx, but now the time has come to work together and get again that team feeling.
"It’s good that the guys are back together and they get to see each other, they needed to be with the group, as it’s good for their morale. It also gives us an opportunity to see some of the measures that will be implemented once the season resumes, but also to do a recon of the cobbled Classics parcours, which will be a bit strange to do in the summer.”
Every member of the recon, including the staff were given health checks for symptoms of COVID-19 once they arrived. Riders were then split into groups as to adhere to Belgium’s rules on social distancing but it was a welcome relief to meet up and train together.
“These last few months have been quite boring,” admitted Asgreen.
“I was looking forward to this training camp and seeing everybody again. As soon as I came, I went for a spin and rode up the Oude Kwaremont. It was really fun to be there and it brought back memories of Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, where we split the field on that great day.”
“You know, after this long break, it feels like going into a new season. It’s nice to be with the guys and work towards August. The calendar is very crowded now, so it will be about timing your shape to be good in general, not just for a couple of races”, Asgreen added.
The team rode over important sections of the 210km Gent-Wevelgem course with several new sections of road included in this year’s race.
“A lot of things have changed in the parcours and getting to know these new roads should help us in October. It felt a bit strange to go out on this route in June, but I must say I enjoyed it, especially as I did it with my teammates, whom I missed so much,” said Yves Lampaert.
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