Mark Cavendish down to make second appearance of 2021 at Le Samyn

The team is the same line-up that recently managed second place at the Clásica de Almería

Mark Cavendish is down to make his second appearance back at Deceuninck – Quick-Step with a race around the tough cobbled roads of Le Samyn, a race he has not attended for 14 years.

Cavendish will be up against defending champion, Hugo Hofstetter (Israel Start-Up Nation) as well as other top sprinting talent such as John Degenkolb (Lotto-Soudal) and Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix).

The ‘Manx Missile’ isn’t likely to be the main focus for Deceuninck over the 205.4km route, as the cobbled roads are notoriously difficult. The focus is likely to be on 2019 winner, Florian Sénéchal, who looked in good form after taking second place behind Giacomo Nizzolo (Qhubeka-Assos) at the Clásica de Almería.

>>> Mathieu van der Poel returns to the Netherlands after team pulls out of UAE Tour

Deceuninck sports director Rik van Slycke, said: “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.

“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 [Sénéchal] of course has his eyes on this race, which he won two years ago, but we also have other options with Jannik [Steimle], Alvaro [Hodeg] 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”

Cavendish, who has won 30 Tour de France stages, looked strong on the bike at his first race with Deceuninck in Almería, until he suffered a mechanical, shortly after Hodeg had a nasty crash, leaving the sprinting to Sénéchal, who managed second place.

It is the exact same team that is down to start Le Samyn as team’s look to keep travel and race bubbles together so that Covid-19 spreads less easily.

Other British interest is with the Canyon-dHb-SunGod team riding alongside some of the biggest names in racing, as well their former rider Harry Tanfield (Qhubeka-Assos), 2019 Tour de Yorkshire winner Chris Lawless (Total Direct Energie) and experienced rider Alex Richardson (Alpecin-Fenix).

Deceuninck – Quick-Step Le Samyn 2021 line-up

Mark Cavendish (GBR)
Florian Sénéchal (FRA)
Alvaro Hodeg (COL)
Jannik Steimle (GER)
Bert Van Lerberghe (BEL)
Tim Declercq (BEL)
Stijn Steels (BEL)