After an impressive showing at Paris-Nice last week, Julian Alaphilippe is set to make his debut at Milan-San Remo this weekend. The Quick-Step Floors rider told the French press in Nice that the first monument of the season will be a learning experience for him.
"My participation should soon be official, but I will discover this race that I have never done. It's a new experience for me," he said, according to RTL. "I'm going there to learn."
The hilly course is well suited to Alaphilippe, and he has the sprint to take a good result from a small bunch, should the race break up. Quick-Step Floors is yet to announce the eight riders that will line-up at Milan-San Remo this Saturday, but it is more than likely that Alaphilippe will line up alongside rising star Fernando Gaviria. The young Colombian looked a possible winner in last year's edition but he crashed after touching wheels with another rider, and he is due to lead the team's ambitions. Marcel Kittel and Matteo Trentin are also other potential starters.
Alaphilippe has had a strong start to the season with fifth overall and best young rider at the Abu Dhabi Tour. He went into Paris-Nice with good form and took an impressive win in the time trial to Mount Brouilly. He spent three days in the yellow jersey but cracked on the penultimate stage and ceded the race lead to eventual winner Sergio Henao.
Alaphilippe went on to finish fifth overall and comfortably win the young rider classification over Simon Yates. His teammate David de la Cruz won the final stage into Nice while Dan Martin finished the week on the podium.
"It has been an incredible week for me and my team with a fifth place finish and a Dan Martin third overall," said Alaphilippe. "If you'd have told me that beforehand, I wouldn't necessarily have believed it."