Gaviria and Alaphilippe headline for Quick-Step Floors at Milan-San Remo
Boonen and Gilbert bring experience to strong line-up
Fernando Gaviria will lead the line for Quick-Step Floors at Milan-San Remo as part of a strong team that includes Julian Alaphilippe and Tom Boonen, who is making his final appearance at La Classicissima before his retirement on April 9.
Gaviria was well placed to claim victory at the first attempt last year, only to crash on the Via Roma. The Colombian underlined his pre-Milan-San Remo form by beating world champion Peter Sagan to win the penultimate stage of Tirreno-Adriatico in Civitanova Marche on Monday.
Alaphilippe arrives at his Milan-San Remo debut fresh from a pugnacious display at Paris-Nice, where he won the Mont Brouilly time trial, led the race for two days, and finished 5th overall. Boonen has twice finished on the podium of Milan-San Remo, placing second in 2010 and third in 2007, though the race will serve primarily as part of his build-up to the cobbled Classics.
Boonen is joined by another two-time podium finisher in San Remo, Philippe Gilbert. The Belgian missed last year's race through illness, breaking a run of consecutive appearances that stretched back to 2004. The Quick-Step line-up also includes Jack Bauer, Matteo Trentin, Julien Vermote and Fabio Sabatini.
"We have a squad with a lot of depth, capable of playing different cards, depending on the race scenario," said Quick-Step directeur sportif Davide Bramati. "It goes without saying that we hope to get a good result, but you can never be sure about anything when it comes to Milan-San Remo. This race is like a Jack-in-the box, it can always spring a surprise.
"Things will become really nervous once the succession of capi begins, as riders will fight for positioning, so it will be very important to stay safe and overcome these obstacles before Cipressa and Poggio, the main difficulties of the day."
As anticipated, Marcel Kittel is not included in the Quick-Step team. The German has never raced Milan-San Remo in his career and had already confirmed that he would not be making his debut in 2017. "I want to be competitive if I ride and it's difficult with the current profile," he said in February.
Quick-Step Floors for Milan-San Remo: Fernando Gaviria (Col), Tom Boonen (Bel), Julian Alaphilippe (Fra), Jack Bauer (NZl), Philippe Gilbert (Bel), Julien Vermote (Bel), Fabio Sabatini (Ita), and Matteo Trentin (Ita).
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