By Gareth James
Stevie Williams will begin his campaign with a weekend Classics double in Belgium this weekend.
The Aberystwyth-born rider has been named in the Team Bahrain Victorious squad for the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne the following day.
Williams has not raced since last October’s Vuelta a Espana when he was forced to within before stage 10 with a knee issue.
The 24-year-old returned to racing last March after a career-threatening knee injury which sidelined him for months.
— Team Bahrain Victorious (@BHRVictorious) February 24, 2021
Williams was handed a new two year contract by the team at the end of last season and will kick-off 2021 with the Belgian double.
Saturday sees the 76th running Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the race from Ghent to Ninove being the first first UCI WorldTour race on European soil this year.
It is followed by the 73rd edition of Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, always held on the ninth Sunday of the year, with the events marking the start of the Classics season on the continent.
Sports Director Rolf Aldag said: “The coming races in Belgium are going to be the first real test on cobbles, and that needs a lot of commitment from riders and the whole team.
“It’s hard work, and we know that we’re going to face many young motivated neo pros and rising talent on home soil —Belgians who are really hard to beat.
“We are confident with the team’s depth. Sonny Colbrelli for a sprint finish, a super motivated Dylan Teuns and an experienced Heinrich Haussler.
“It’s also an exciting moment for Mark Padun, who never raced in Belgium. I’m excited about it. We are here to race and really go out there, ride offensive and be fully committed.”
Team Bahrain Victorious: Sonny Colbrelli / Marco Haller / Heinrich Haussler / Mark Padun / Marcel Sieberg / Dylan Teuns / Stephen Williams