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Deceuninck-QuickStep announce first post-COVID-19 training camp

Deceuninck-QuickStep at the Tour Colombia 2.1 (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Deceuninck-QuickStep have announced the team's first gathering since the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic swept through Europe in March. An unspecified number of riders will gather for a training camp in northern Belgium in mid-June ahead of the start of a revised cycling season in August. The riders are likely to be part of the Classics group that will then target the one-day races rescheduled for August and October. 

Earlier this month, Israel Start-Up Nation held a limited training camp in northern Israel, but Deceuninck-QuickStep's camp is the first that will see a sizable part of a WorldTour squad come together since the season ground to a halt two months ago.

The three-day camp will see the team based in a house in Flanders rather than a hotel, in order to minimise health risks to themselves and other people, while contact with people outside the team to be kept to a minimum.

The team's medical staff are also planning to test all team members who attend for COVID-19 and to enact strict medical protocols throughout the camp, which will see riders recon the route of several 'spring' Classics.

"It is more a case of getting the group together, rather than having any hugely structured training sessions, as most of the guys have been following structured programs that the coaches have set for them for several weeks now," said team coach Koen Pilgrim.

"We will also be using it as an opportunity to recon the routes of some of the cobbled classics, like Flanders and Gent–Wevelgem. We would like to do Roubaix too, but we would have to cross the border, which may be complicated right now, but we will get in some good training anyway.

"More than anything it is about getting the group together and having some fun on the bikes after such a long time apart."

The team are also planning to hold a high-altitude training camp in June, though details are yet to be confirmed.

Teams are currently working on securing altitude camp locations before the new August-November season gets underway. 

Easily accessible locations in the French and Italian Alps are thought to be the preferred destinations, though planning full team camps will be made tougher in the middle of the summer season.

AG2R La Mondiale will decamp to Sestriere in mid-June, while Bahrain McLaren are among the teams still surveying their options, with Italy, Austria and Slovenia some of the locations under consideration.