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Uijtdebroeks returns to peloton for challenging Tour de Suisse

Uijtdebroeks returns to peloton for challenging Tour de Suisse

Cian Uijtdebroeks will return to the peloton for the upcoming Tour de Suisse. The young Belgian, who was forced to withdraw from the Giro d'Italia due to illness, will start the eight-stage Swiss stage race on Sunday, 9 June. Uijtdebroeks is looking ahead with sports director Marc Reef.

Things were looking good for Cian Uijtdebroeks in the first part of the Giro. Until the youngster suddenly fell ill, and a retirement proved inevitable. "Fortunately, I'm fine now."

"It was a big disappointment”, the Belgian says of his forced exit in Italy. "I went into the Giro with a good feeling. Although the first part of the race was not for me, everything went according to plan. We all felt that the best was yet to come. Unfortunately, you can never wholly avoid illness. I had a fever after the rest day. Then you have no choice but to take care of your health. It was the right decision to withdraw from the race.”

"I want to perform as well as possible in the Tour de Suisse"

Cian Uijtdebroeks

Uijtdebroeks says it was difficult to follow the rest of the Giro d'Italia from home. "I wanted to continue supporting the guys from home, but it was quite difficult. Our goal in Italy was to win as many stages as possible and do well in the general classification. In the space of two days, both of those goals were destroyed. It was quite a disappointment. The four remaining riders fought until the end”, says the Belgian, referring to Jan Tratnik, Attila Valter, Tim van Dijke and Edoardo Affini.

Under the guidance of Team Visma | Lease a Bike, Uijtdebroeks immediately set his sights on the near future. "When I got back home, I did nothing for a week. That was necessary to recover. Then, I went to Andorra to train at altitude. The first few days, I had to take it easy. My lungs were still bothering me. Then, I took steps day by day. Now, I am back to a good level. The most important thing now is to rest for a few days, and then I hope to perform well in Switzerland”, the 21-year-old rider says. 

Uijtdebroeks himself isn't sure how far those ambitions go. "Of course, I want to perform as well as possible in the Tour de Suisse, but first of all, it is a test to see where I stand. I hope to be at a high level. Wilco Kelderman and Ben Tulett also have protected status next week. So we will start with a strong block”, Uijtdebroeks says.

Reef: “Generally, we have a solid team at the start. Cian needed some time to recover but has been training well for the last few weeks. Wilco, Ben and Johannes Staune-Mittet had a good training camp in the Sierra Nevada. They have invested in this camp with this race in mind. We start without a clear leader but with several front-runners. We have the ambition to fight for the final podium.”

"It is a very challenging edition"

Marc Reef

Reef also has a few words to say about the course of the 87th edition of the Tour of Switzerland. "As always, the course is very tough. We start with a prologue of almost five kilometres. Stages two and three have a hilly finale, but we are looking for the real high mountains from stage four. The final stage is a climbing time trial, similar to the one in the Tour de Romandie two years ago. This stage will make a big difference in the final classification. It is a very challenging edition of the Tour de Suisse”, Reef says.

Uijtdebroeks: “I have good memories of this race. Last year, I finished seventh in the final classification. I especially like the high mountain stages. I am happy to have the chance to race again soon after my illness. I'm looking forward to it.”

Alongside Uijtdebroeks, Kelderman, Tulett and Staune-Mittet, Valter, Robert Gesink and Milan Vader will also compete in the Swiss stage race.

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