Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) will forgo the Critérium du Dauphiné for the first time in his career, instead choosing to build up for the Tour de France at the Tour de Suisse which kicks off in Frausenfeld on June 6.
The world champion has taken part in six editions of the Dauphiné during his career, taking two stage wins and a king of the mountains jersey along the way, but he's opting to take a different path the Tour this year, according to a report in L'Equipe.
The eight-day Tour de Suisse will take in two time trials as well as several tough mountain stages, including the finale, which includes the Furkapass, Sustenpass, and a summit finish atop Andermatt.
Alaphilippe returns to the peloton at the race, having last been in action during the Ardennes Classics back in late April. So far in 2021 the 28-year-old has won a stage of Tirreno-Adriatico, taken a third La Flèche Wallonne title, and finished second at Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
He has reportedly been training on his time trial bike at a recent altitude training camp in Sierra Nevada, Spain, suggesting an overall bid at the Tour could be on the cards with 58 kilometres of TT in the race on stage 5 and 20.
Alaphilippe will be able to go 100 per cent at the Tour without having to worry about his form for the Tokyo Olympic Games road race, too, having said earlier this month that he's skipping the trip to Japan. The latter stages of his season will be focussed on a defence of his rainbow jersey in Flanders.
Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) and Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) are among the big names set to start in Switzerland alongside Alaphilippe, while Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) is making his return to racing after a break.
Meanwhile, the Dauphiné – which runs from May 30-June 6 will boast the more star-studded start list of the two traditional Tour build-up races, with former Tour winners Chris Froome (Israel Start-Up Nation), and Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) taking part alongside Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).
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