Alaphilippe returns after Tour de France at Clásica San Sebastián

Team Deceuninck Quicksteps Julian Alaphilippe of France crosses the finish line of the 15th stage of the 108th edition of the Tour de France cycling race 191 km between Ceret and AndorreLaVieille on July 11 2021 Photo by Philippe LOPEZ AFP Photo by PHILIPPE LOPEZAFP via Getty Images
Julian Alaphilippe at the 2021 Tour de France (Image credit: Getty Images)

Julian Alaphilippe will lead the seven-rider lineup for Deceuninck-QuickStep at Clásica San Sebastián, the hilly one-day race that returns after a one-year hiatus on Saturday.

It marks the first competition for the current world champion since the Tour de France, where he won the opening stage in Brittany and claimed the maillot jaune. The last world champion to win the opening stage of the Tour was another Frenchman, Bernard Hinault in 1981. 

Alaphilippe won the 2018 edition of the race in the Basque Country, taking a two-man sprint ahead of Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo). In the last edition of Clásica San Sebastián in 2019, Deceuninck-QuickStep’s Remco Evenepoel won his first one-day WorldTour race.

The Belgian is currently competing at the Tokyo Olympic Games, where he finished 49th in the road race and will line up Wednesday as one of the favourites in the time trial.

“We have a solid team, built around a former winner of the race, and we go there with the confidence that we can get a good result at the end of the day,” said Deceuninck-QuickStep sports director Wilfried Peeters in a team statement.

“San Sebastian is always a hard race, everybody knows that. You’ve got a lot of climbing and an extremely tough ascent inside the last ten kilometers, which since it has been added to the course, it’s been decisive almost every single time.”

This year’s Clásica is 223.5 kilometres that begins with flat terrain on the coast of Gipuzkoa in Spain, but the second part is mountainous with six categorised climbs.

The Murgil-Tontorra is the final ascent of the race, with an average of 10.1 per cent and leads with a technical descent along the final eight kilometres to the finish on the Boulevard in Donostia.

The Deceuninck-QuickStep squad is one of 19 WorldTour teams on the start line, joined by six ProTeams. Alaphilippe will be joined by Itzulia Basque Country stage winner Mikkel Honoré, Mattia Cattaneo, Dries Devenyns, James Knox, Pieter Serry and Zdenek Stybar.

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