Julian Alaphilippe leads the line for the Wolfpack in the weekend.

Ardèche Classic (168.6km) and Drôme Classic (191.5km) – whose up-and-down terrain will lend itself to the puncheurs and attackers – marks our team’s first outing of the season on French soil. The many climbs peppering the route of the two races aren’t in any way wild, but a well-timed powerful attack on the last ascent – which on both events comes not far from the finish – has a big chance of holding off the peloton and making it all the way to the line, as was the case many times at the previous editions.

Julian Alaphilippe, who had a solid start to the season at the Challenge Mallorca, will pin on a number in front of his home supporters in the weekend, when he will lead the Soudal Quick-Step squad at the two races. But the double World Champion won’t be the Wolfpack’s only card, as the team will include also former winners Andrea Bagioli and Rémi Cavagna, Dries Devenyns, James Knox, Martin Svrcek and Ilan Van Wilder, who recently finished third overall at the Volta ao Algarve.

“We know these races quite well, they are always spectacular, and we are happy to be back at the start. Both the motivation and the form of our riders are good as we’ve seen in recent weeks, and we hope to be up there when it comes down to crunch time. We have a strong team comprising riders who can find the route to their liking, and we will see what we can do on Saturday and Sunday”, explained Soudal Quick-Step sports director Davide Bramati.


Photo credit: ©Dario Belingheri / Getty Images

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