Mark Cavendish will build up for his classics season at this Sunday’s Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, lining up alongside reigning champion Tom Boonen for Etixx-Quick-Step.
Cavendish won the Belgian semi-classic in 2012 and will be among the favourites for the race once more with a strong team around him.
Etixx will hope to stake their Classics ambitions at the earliest opportunity, with one-day specialists Boonen, Stijn Vandenbergh and Paris-Roubaix winner Niki Terpstra in the squad for Saturday’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.
Cavendish was on a reconnaissance mission to northern Italy this week to check out the closing stages of the Milan-San Remo route, one of his main targets this season.
Boonen and Terpstra, meanwhile, will be warming up for tilts at Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders, with the former looking for his first Monument win since 2012.
Etixx-QuickStep for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad:
Tom Boonen, Iljo Keisse, Nikolas Maes, Zdenek Stybar, Niki Terpstra, Matteo Trentin, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck and Stijn Vandenbergh.
Etixx-QuickStep for Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne:
Tom Boonen, Mark Cavendish, Yves Lampaert, Nikolas Maes, Zdenek Stybar, Matteo Trentin, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck and Lukasz Wisniowski.