Julian Alaphilippe will be at the start of the one-day race for the first time in six years.

An interminable succession of hills will make up the course of the 85th Bretagne Classic, the season’s penultimate World Tour race on French soil. Starting and finishing in Plouay, the town which hosted the 2000 World Championships, Sunday’s Classic will be 251 kilometers in length and its combination of short climbs, some with steep gradients, and narrow roads will seriously test the riders going for a good result.

World Champion Julian Alaphilippe – who five weeks ago became the first Frenchman since Bernard Hinault to win at least a stage in four consecutive editions of Le Tour – will show his rainbow stripes on the hard, up-and-down roads of the Bretagne Classic, where in 2014, in his first pro season, he took an impressive fifth place.

Third in Clasica San Sebastian and fifth overall at the Tour de Pologne this summer, 24-year-old Mikkel Honoré will be another rider who will find the parcours to his liking, as the Dane makes his second outing here, part of a strong Deceuninck – Quick-Step team that will also include Omloop Het Nieuwsblad winner Davide Ballerini, Mattia Cattaneo, Tim Declercq, Ian Garrison and Pieter Serry.

“Plouay is a beautiful event, but a tough one at the same time which can turn into a race of attrition in case of rain and winds. The riders will take on some narrow roads and tackle around 4000 vertical meters, all factors which can play a big role in the outcome. Julian and Mikkel can go for a good result, it’s the kind of course that suits them. Regarding Davide – who will return to competition for the first time since Le Tour – and Mattia, who raced only San Sebastian in the last month, we’ll see on Sunday how they feel. We also have Tim, Ian and Pieter on the squad, who will be of great help and who have the experience to control the race”, explained Deceuninck – Quick-Step sports director Geert Van Bondt.

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