WorldTour racing isn’t scheduled to resume until August, but Zdenek Stybar (Deceuninck-QuickStep) was back in competitive action on Tuesday when he lined out in a local race in Plzen in the Czech Republic.
Restrictions on the holding of sporting events have eased since the Czech Republic ended its state of emergency last month. The country had been among the first in Europe to go into lockdown in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Stybar competed in the second round of the IL Sano Cup series on a 66km circuit in Pilsen on Tuesday, placing 4th in a race where the field was composed of Czech-based riders. Petr Kelemen (CCC Development Team) won the race ahead of Denis Rugovac (AC Sparta Praha) and Ondrej Rybín (Rafkarna Idea Cycling Team).
Stybar lined out wearing the number 1 on his back. "This took me back in time since I already participated here 20 years ago," he said, according to Het Nieuwsblad.
Deceuninck-QuickStep announced this week that part of the team will meet in northern Belgium later this month for their first collective training camp since the coronavirus pandemic interrupted the cycling season in March.
The three-day camp is set to feature reconnaissance rides over the routes of some of the cobbled Classics, including the Tour of Flanders and Gent-Wevelgem.
Stybar has yet to confirm his full programme of racing for the remainder of 2020, but October will be his focus on the revised calendar, with the cobbled Classics all fixed for that month. The Tour of Flanders is currently scheduled for October 18, while Paris-Roubaix is set for October 25.
"It gives me a lot of joy to know when Flanders and Roubaix will take place, although it's weird to have them in autumn," Stybar said last month.
"October should be quite a busy month and it will be a challenge to see how our program will look like once we return to competition, but I can't wait to talk with the sports directors and start working for these goals."
Stybar began his season on a high with stage victory on the Vuelta a San Juan in January. He also competed at Opening Weekend and Paris-Nice before the COVID-19 pandemic brought the cycling season to a halt.