Cavendish and Hodeg lead a Deceuninck-QuickStep squad that also includes Shane Archbold, Ian Garrison, Stijn Steels, Bert Van Lerberghe and Jannik Steimle who is making his first appearance since a crash at the Nokere Koerse in March.
Cavendish took his 150th pro victory at last month’s Tour of Turkey, winning four stages as he returned to success after his long fight with the Epstein-Barr virus. Hodeg was expected to ride the Giro d’Italia but the team was instead built around Remco Evenepeol. However, the young Colombian showed his form at the weekend by winning the GP Vermarc Sport in Belgium.
Cavendish has not raced since his success in Turkey but recently spent ten days in Greece, training with team coach Vasilis Anastopoulos.
The Vuelta a Andalucia takes place three months later than was originally planned, with a May date instead of its traditional February slot. The 66th edition of the Vuelta a Andalucia will be one for the climbers, with the first three days very likely to decide the overall winner.
On paper, the last two stages will suit the sprinters, but their teams will have to work hard in order to bring back the attackers, who will be favoured by the rolling parcours.
“We have a chance of getting some nice results. There are a few breakaway opportunities in the first days of the race, while later in the week we’ll be looking to Mark and Alvaro, who can be among the contenders if the stages will come down to a bunch sprint,” Deceuninck-QuickStep sports director Tom Steels said.
“We are happy to have Jannik back; it will be his first race in two months and he’ll take it day by day, as he builds up towards the second part of the season.”
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