Julian Alaphilippe makes his comeback at the Grande Boucle, an event he has left an indelible mark on at the previous appearances.
The Tour de France is just a couple of days away, and Soudal Quick-Step – who has won 49 stages here – is ready for it. Featuring four summit finishes, a short but demanding individual time trial, stages in all five mountain ranges of the country, as well as at least five opportunities for the sprinters, Le Tour will cover 3404 kilometers between Bilbao – host of the Grand Départ for the first time in history – and Paris.
Winner of the KOM standings in 2018, fifth overall in 2019 after an unforgettable 14-day spell in the yellow jersey and victorious in six stages, Julian Alaphilippe is excited to head together with Soudal Quick-Step to the start of the 110th edition of the Grande Boucle, where he returns for the first time since 2021.
“I’m looking forward to the Tour de France, it’s always an exciting period of the year. I went on a recon of the start in Bilbao, and I can tell you it will be a beautiful and hard weekend. At the beginning of the month I did a solid Dauphiné, where I felt in good shape, got a win and took pleasure in riding, and the preparations went well. The Tour is a truly huge adventure, every day you have to fight together with the team, and has a really special atmosphere, with all the people along the roads. I’m ready for Le Tour”, said Julian ahead of his eighth Grand Tour start.
Joining him in Bilbao, home of one of the only three La Liga teams to have always played in Spain’s first tier since their inception, will be European Champion Fabio Jakobsen – a stage winner at his debut in the race last year – Danish ITT Champion Kasper Asgreen, French ITT Champion Rémi Cavagna, Tim Declercq, Dries Devenyns, Yves Lampaert and Michael Mørkøv, one of the best lead-out men in the business.
“Julian and Fabio are our two leaders. Julian will try to go for a stage win, as he has some nice opportunities over the three weeks of the race, while Fabio will rely on Michael to guide him in the sprints, but also on the likes of Kasper and Yves, who can keep the speed high in the bunch finishes.”
“Rémi, who can go in some breakaways, and Dries will be the two men at the side of Julian, while Tim can work on all terrains, especially to control the breakaway, but equally important, he can also help Fabio in the mountains together with the other guys. Looking over our team, we can see a group that has a lot of ambition and motivation, so we hope for a nice Tour de France”, explained sports director Tom Steels.
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