Mark Cavendish will be making his return to Belgian one-day races Scheldeprijs and Ghent-Wevelgem next week.
The British sprinter hasn’t raced in either event since 2016, but he has had some great success in Belgium in previous years.
Cavendish has previously won Scheldeprijs, traditionally dominated by the sprinters, on three previous occasions, but he has yet to break into the top-10 of Ghent-Wevelgem.
Sports director Tristan Hoffman said: “Our line-up will include a mix of sprinters and Classic men.”
On Ghent-Wevelgem, scheduled for October 11, Hoffman added: “We have three riders that can make the difference there: Sonny Colbrelli, Dylan Teuns and Ivan Cortina.
“They’ll get the protection at any time during the race, that is a typical Classic one. The course heads to the coast and then back inland, with the risk of crosswind and backwind that split the group. Kemmelberg is a key point in the race and gravel zones will put extra stress on the riders. We expect the peloton will reduce and we will try to have our guys there, fighting in a select group in the finale.”
Scheldeprijs will take place on October 14 with route redesigned due to coronavirus restrictions, now featuring 10 laps of a 17.4km-long finishing circuit in Schoten.
Hoffman said: “It will make it, even more, a sprinters race.
“We will race there with Mark Cavendish who has been very successful there.”
Cavendish made his Scheldeprijs debut in 2007, winning at his first attempt. He followed up with victories in 2008 and 2011, then finishing second in 2013 and 2016.
Scheldeprijs has been dominated by the sprinters, with Marcel Kittel winning five out of six editions between 2012 and 2017, while the last two years it have been won by Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), who is still out due to injury.
Cavendish has ridden Ghent-Wevelgem on six occasions, the first of which was in 2008, but his best result is 17th on his debut.
Bahrain-McLaren squad for Ghent-Wevelgem 2020