Alaphilippe leads Deceuninck-QuickStep in Itzulia Basque Country

Belgian team looks to repeat success in Basque race

Julian Alaphilippe will lead Deceuninck-QuickStep in the Iztulia Basque Country race, where he won the two opening stage in 2018. He will be joined by Spaniard Enric Mas, who was the best young rider last year, and Mikkel Honore, who won the race's closing state.

Alaphilippe, who has taken a break since winning Milan-San Remo, was the first French rider to win back-to-back stages in the race. He will again be going for stage wins.

The six-stage race opens with an 11km individual time trial and includes two uphill finishes, followed by two high mountain stages. The final stage also features six ranked climbs. 

Alaphilippe and Mas will be supported by Honore, Remi Cavagna, Dries Devenyns, Pieter Serry and Petr Vakoc. Sport Director Klaas Lodewyck called it "a well-balanced team."

Mas will go for GC, and "will take it day by day, while Alaphilippe, who has had a great season so far, can look for stage wins, which gives the team a dynamic that we can play with throughout the race. We hope to get some good results next week and take some confidence into the Ardennes."

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