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Mark Cavendish to make Le Samyn debut with Deceuninck-QuickStep

Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-QuickStep)
Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-QuickStep) will ride his first Le Samyn (Image credit: Deceuninck – Quick-Step Cycling Team)

After starting his 2021 season in the Clasica de Almeria, Mark Cavendish will rejoin his Deceuninck-QuickStep squad for Le Samyn in Belgium on March 2 along with 2019 winner Florian Sénéchal. Alvaro Hodeg is also due to return in Le Samyn after suffering a crash in Almeria.

The UCI 1.1-ranked race is 205.4km long and begins in Quaregnon, outside Mons in the Walloon region of Belgium. It heads north for an out-and-back loop before turning south to touch the French border, then heads toward Dour, where the peloton will face four laps of a lumpy 26.6km circuit that includes five stretches of cobbles, the last within five kilometres of the uphill finish.

Cavendish's debut with Deceuninck-QuickStep in Almeria was scuttled by a late puncture, and Le Samyn might not be the type of parcours to suit his racing style. But the race's length will provide the Manxman with precious racing kilometres before he and the team tackle the Scheldeprijs, a race Cavendish has won three times (2007, 2008, 2011).

Sénéchal, Cavendish and Hodeg will be joined by Tim Declercq, Stijn Steels, Jannik Steimle and Bert Van Lerberghe.

"GP Samyn is a very nice race in which the weather can play an important role. It's very important to know where the race will be brought to life and where the most dangerous parts will be. We'll start with a loop, then after 100 kilometers we will enter on the local parcours, where the cobbled sections can make a big selection," Deceuninck-QuickStep Sports Director Rik Van Slycke said.

"It will be very difficult for the race to come down to a bunch sprint. We have a good team, with whom we can play an important role. 

"Florian of course has his eyes on this race, which he won two years ago, but we also have other options with Jannik, Alvaro and Mark. Cav is very motivated and really looking forward to it. In the end, we'll decide during the race which card we'll play."