Mark Cavendish returns to racing at the PostNord Danmark Rundt-Tour of Denmark on Tuesday, pinning on a race number for the first time since his four stage wins and his incredible comeback at the Tour de France.
Joining the Manxman in the Deceuninck-QuickStep line-up are Remco Evenepoel after competing at the Tokyo Olympics for Belgium, Yves Lampaert and Michael Mørkøv, who will make a rapid return home from the Tokyo Olympics after winning gold in the Madison on Saturday.
Mørkøv will return to his proven role of lead-out man for Cavendish but may be given a chance of personal success at his home national tour. Also in the Deceuninck-QuickStep line-up are Shane Archbold, experienced road captain Iljo Keisse and Jannik Steimle.
As Deceuninck-QuickStep team manager Patrick Lefevere revealed in his weekly column with Het Nieuwsblad, Sam Bennett requires knee surgery after the injury that forced him to miss the Tour de France and will not race again for Deceuninck-QuickStep before his move to Bora-Hansgrohe in 2022.
Cavendish produced one of the most remarkable comebacks in the history of the sport when he won four stages and the green jersey at the Tour de France, tying Eddy Merckx's record for the number of stage wins.
Cavendish will not ride the Vuelta a España, which starts next Saturday in Burgos and so is expected to include a series of shorter stage races in the final part of his season. He has yet to confirm his future plans but is widely expected to stay with Deceuninck-QuickStep in 2022.
Cavendish last raced the Tour of Denmark in 2013 when he won the final stage to Frederiksberg while riding for Omega Pharma-Quick-Step.
The five-day race starts with a flat road stage from Struer to Esbjerg in the west of Denmark and ends with a 10.8km time trial around Frederiksberg, the suburb in the capital of Copenhagen, close to the home of Deceuninck-QuickStep directeur sport Brian Holm.
"It's an interesting course this year, with some sprint opportunities, a hard stage 3 in Vejle with a lot of hills and the final day individual time trial, which has the potential of deciding the general classification," Holm explained.
"Mark has a strong team for the sprints, where he'll try to be in the mix, while Remco and Yves can go for a good result on the stage against the clock in Frederiksberg.
"We would like to notch up a victory, while for the overall we will just take it one day at a time and see how things go."
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