James Knox to make 2022 season debut at Coppi e Bartali

Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl rider to race for first time this year in Italy, joining Chris Froome

James Knox
(Image credit: Getty Images)

James Knox is set to make his season debut at Coppi e Bartali this week, his first time racing since the Vuelta a España last summer.

The Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl rider has been named as part of a five-man squad for the Italian stage race, which begins on Tuesday.

He will line up alongside Mattia Cattaneo, Rémi Cavagna, Josef Cerny, and Mauro Schmid.

Knox finished the Vuelta in early September, with stage 21's time trial being the last time he was seen in Quick-Step colours. The Cumbrian signed an extension to his contract with the Belgian team over the off-season, which will see him stay there until at least the end of 2023.

However, injury prevented him from racing again in the almost-seven months since then.

He is not the only British rider racing for the first time in 2022, with Chris Froome also on the startlist of the event.

>>> 'I'd much rather be here than be a stock broker': The highs, lows and plateaus with James Knox

Klaas Lodewyck, a Quick-Step sports director, said that every day of the race would be hard, and that he was delighted to have Knox back in the squad.

"Every day of the race, which this year won’t feature a team time trial, will be a hard one," he said. "We don’t have a leader, but all our guys come here with a lot of motivation and so we’ll take it day by day and try to make the most of it. 

"We are delighted to have James back in the team. He was out with injury and the most important thing for him will be to feel the race rhythm again. With the other guys we will try to do our best and hopefully get some good results."

Also present at the race's start in Riccione, on the Adriatic coast, will be Mathieu van der Poel. The Dutchman made a surprise return to racing at Milan-San Remo on Saturday, where he finished third, looking like he was never away.

Despite it being his first road race of the season, Van der Poel was still not happy with his podium place at the end of the first monument of the season.

"I'm still disappointed," he said. "I think from maybe the biggest favourites I won the sprint for third place. It's a shame we couldn't sprint for victory today but that's Milan-San Remo. A few times it went like this already and it's just a difficult race to win."

His appearance at Coppi e Bartali suggests that he might be in good shape for the upcoming cobbled classics, with the Tour of Flanders just over a week away.

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1