Deceuninck-Quickstep have decided against splitting the team into three distinct 'bubbles' to prepare for the abbreviated 2020 road season, instead opting to send 50 riders and staff to Italy for a pre-season altitude camp in the Dolomites near the Passo San Pellegrino in July.
Team manager Patrick Lefevere explained to the Belgian network Eén that the camp will run from July 6-23 in Northern Italy with the whole team.
"We initially planned to make three different bubbles like other teams. But we are not going to do that," Lefevere said, explaining that having everyone in the same place makes it easier to track down the source of any coronavirus infections.
"Italy is open. If there is a different crowd in those hotels and someone gets sick, you don't know who it is. If you're all in one hotel exclusively and someone gets sick, you know that it comes from us."
The camp is the second full team meeting planned since the Coronavirus pandemic interrupted racing in March. Riders and staff will gather in the Flemish Ardennes in mid-June to regroup and preview the cobbled Classics. The team's medical staff will test everyone for COVID-19 before they depart for Italy.
"We are going to test before we leave," Lefevere said. "We will already be testing on June 9 in Wevelgem. We have a large camper. Everyone arrives at their hour - in the camper, out of the camper. It is an entire organization, which also costs money. But it is what it has to be... We've been through a lot."
Deceuninck-Quickstep racked up 15 victories before racing ended after Paris-Nice, and are looking forward to the WorldTour to get underway on August 1 with Strade Bianche. However, there is a proposal in Belgium to start allowing races with more than 50 competitors earlier than expected – on July 1 rather than after July 31.
"That is a good proposition, because you have some competition again, it's not at the WorldTour level but you'd be racing."
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