Van Avermaet returns to racing as Tour de France prep begins

After his most successful Classics campaign to date, and a month off the bike, Greg Van Avermaet returns to racing at next week’s Tour de Luxembourg.

The Paris-Roubaix winner and 2016 Olympic road champion, will use the five-day race as part of his build-up to the Tour de France, where he will target stage wins and another stint in the yellow jersey, along with supporting overall team leader, Richie Porte.

"When you don't race for a while it's hard to know how the form is, but the five stages will give me a chance to get back into the racing rhythm and I'll take things day by day,

Van Avermaet enjoyed a richly successful start to the season, winning Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, E3 Harelbeke, Gent-Wevelgem and Paris Roubaix, as well as finishing second in the Tour of Flanders and Strade Bianche. His last race came at Liege-Bastogne-Liege, where he finished 11th, having competed in every major early-season one-day race, bar La Fleche Wallonne.

For the Tour of Luxembourg Van Avermaet will be joined by Jempy Drucker, who will be racing on home roads, Martin Elmiger, Floris Gerts, Michael Schär, Nathan Van Hooydonck and Loïc Vliegen.

"The up and down hilly terrain of Luxembourg suits an all-round rider who can race in front and be ready to fight and win seconds at intermediate sprints and the finish. Jempy Drucker will certainly be motivated on home soil and given the race suits him, he will be our main leader,” added team director for the race, Steve Bauer.

“Of course, the race is also very well-suited to Greg Van Avermaet and although he is looking more long term towards the Tour de France, I expect he will also be motivated for a good result.”

As well as competing on home road, Drucker, a stage winner in last year’s Vuelta a Espana, has added motivation after winning the prologue in Luxembourg last year and wearing the leader’s jersey for two stages before abandoning on stage 3.

"It was really special to win the prologue last year and wear the leader's jersey for the first two stages. Of course, there is always extra motivation to do well when you race in front of family and friends and I would love to win the prologue again. I think we have a really strong team for the race and hopefully we can come away with some nice results," Drucker said. 

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