Copyright Tim de Waele

After a month of recovery following the most-successful Classics campaign of his career, Greg Van Avermaet will return to the start line at the Skoda Tour de Luxembourg from May 31 to June 4.

Van Avermaet will be joined by Luxembourger Jempy Drucker, who won the prologue in 2016 and wore the leader’s jersey for two stages, Sports Director Steve Bauer said.

“The up and down hilly terrain of Luxembourg suits an all round rider who can race in front and be ready to fight and win seconds at intermediate sprints and the finish. Jempy Drucker will certainly be motivated on home soil and given the race suits him, he will be our main leader. Of course, the race is also very well-suited to Greg Van Avermaet and although he is looking more long term towards the Tour de France, I expect he will also be motivated for a good result,” Bauer explained.

“It would be great if we can win the prologue again and inspire the team for the next four days. Given the prologue is the same as in 2016, Drucker will surely be a favorite. We have a well-balanced roster and half of our team is coming from California so they should be in great form.”

Van Avermaet will use the Skoda Tour de Luxembourg as the start of a slow build up for the next block of racing.

“After one month off racing, I’m looking forward to lining up at the Skoda Tour de Luxembourg. The plan was to have an easy month of training in May following such a busy Classics season and now I will start to slowly build up towards the Tour de France. When you don’t race for a while it’s hard to know how the form is, but the five stages will give me a chance to get back into the racing rhythm and I’ll take things day by day,” Van Avermaet said.

Drucker will make the most of his only chance to race on home soil this season.

“It was really special to win the prologue last year and wear the leader’s jersey for the first two stages. Of course, there is always extra motivation to do well when you race in front of family and friends and I would love to win the prologue again. I think we have a really strong team for the race and hopefully we can come away with some nice results,” Drucker added.