Alaphilippe to miss the Ardennes Classics

Julian Alaphilippe will miss the upcoming Ardennes Classics due to a lingering knee injury, his Quick-Step Floors team said via a press release Tuesday.

The 24-year-old Frenchman is still hampered by pain from an injury he sustained at the Vuelta al País Vasco. He crashed hard on stage 3, and although he finished that day and the next, he did not start stage 5.

After a promising start to the year that saw Alaphilippe nab fifth overall at the Abu Dhabi Tour, a stage victory and fifth on GC at Paris-Nice and a podium spot at Milan-San Remo, he will now miss the Ardennes Classics, which had been a top season target.

Alaphilippe has performed very well in all three of the hilly one-day races over the course of his young career. He has twice been in the top 10 at the Amstel Gold Race, was the runner-up to Movistar's Alejandro Valverde in both 2015 and 2016 at La Flèche Wallonne and finished second in Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2015 as well.

"It's a very difficult moment for me. In the past days I didn't train, hoping the pain will go away, but this didn't happen," Alaphilippe said. "I am sad to miss the Ardennes Classics, which I'm very fond of, but there really is nothing I can do about it. Despite this, I remain upbeat and hope to return as soon as possible to action. At the same time, I want to wish all the best to my teammates who will ride the Ardennes over the next weeks."

Alaphilippe's return to racing remains uncertain at this point. According to the release, he is set to undergo further medical examinations in the coming days.

In his absence, Quick-Step will still field a capable line-up in the coming week, with both Philippe Gilbert and Daniel Martin having established themselves as contenders on the up-and-down terrain of the three Ardennes races.

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