Remco Evenepoel has been confirmed for the Giro d’Italia by his team, making his Grand Tour debut after not racing for nine months.
The 21-year-old Belgian star hasn’t competed since he crashed out of the 2020 Il Lombardia, suffering a broken pelvis after falling into a ravine, but is among the favourites to take the pink jersey in Italy.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step have now confirmed the full team supporting Evenepoel during the first Grand Tour of the season, with a collection of strong climbers as back-up.
While Evenepoel is expected to be team leader, João Almeida will also be racing after leading the 2020 Giro d’Italia for 15 days, eventually finishing fourth overall.
British climber James Knox and Italy’s Fausto Masnada will also offer support in the mountains, will Rémi Cavagna will have a chance at his own victory in the time trials.
The rest of the team will consist of veteran Iljo Keisse, Mikkel Honoré, and Pieter Serry.
Evenepoel said: “I’m happy to race again after such a long period, during which I worked hard to be ready for my first Grand Tour. Being my first race since last August means that we’ll need to see how my body will react. We will take it day by day and see how things go. The most important thing is that I am back with my teammates and staff again, which makes me very happy.”
Almeida, who has emerged as a general classification contender in the last year, said: “Last year it was an incredible Giro. The team put in a huge effort in what was an amazing but at the same time hard three weeks. We fought for a good result, and in the end, I finished fourth on the GC. I would like to be up there again, fight for a nice result and keep a good feeling, which is the most important thing. Hopefully, things will go well and we’ll score some nice results. This year, the mountain stages are going to play a more important role in the final outcome, which means consistency will be the key.”
Deceuninck – Quick-Step squad for the Giro d’Italia 2021
João Almeida (POR)
Rémi Cavagna (FRA)
Remco Evenepoel (BEL)
Mikkel Honoré (DEN)
Iljo Keisse (BEL)
James Knox (GBR)
Fausto Masnada (ITA)
Pieter Serry (BEL)