A month on from his memorable performance at the Tour de France, Julian Alaphilippe begins his build-up to the World Championships at the Deutschland Tour on Thursday, where he leads Deceuninck-QuickStep alongside Remco Evenepoel.
Alaphilippe won two stages and finished fifth overall at the Tour de France, leading the race two days from Paris, in a season in which he has also won Milan-San Remo, La Fleche Wallonne, and Strade Bianche.
One week after the end of the Tour, he rode the Clasica San Sebastian but abandoned early on, and has not raced since, aside from one appearance at a post-Tour criterium.
Alaphillipe will be joined at the four-day Deutschland Tour by the winner of San Sebastian, Remco Evenepoel. The 19-year-old has had an extraordinary debut season as a professional after skipping the U23 ranks, winning the Belgium Tour and the elite European time trial title this summer.
The Deutschland Tour begins on Thursday with a stage suited to the sprinters, before three stages on more undulating terrain. Alaphilippe and Evenepoel are joined in the Deceuninck-QuickStep line-up by Enric Mas, Kasper Asgreen, Yves Lampaert, and Pieter Serry.
"We start with a strong squad. Some of the guys, like Julian and Enric, will ease back into racing after a very hard Tour de France, but they have the same motivation and desire, just like the rest of the team," said team director Davide Bramati.
"If you look over the parcours, you can see it’s a tough one, which should lead to some spectacular racing, so we look forward to the stages ahead, hoping they will bring more nice results for us, just like last year."
Alaphilippe is attempting to arrive at the World Championships in late September with more freshness than 12 months ago, when he won San Sebastian, Tour of Britain, and Tour of Slovakia before fading at the Worlds.
He has only raced one post-Tour criterium, which France’s national selector Thomas Voeckler said showed his ‘state of mind’, given he could have earned some lucrative paychecks. After the Deutschland Tour, his only other races before Worlds are the Grands Prix in Quebec and Montreal in September.
"That plan didn't work. This time it will be different," Voeckler said recently of Alaphilippe's Worlds preparation. "Julian will have more 'juice' than last year. We will do everything to ensure that his physical condition is optimal."
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