Julian Alaphilippe: I'm not the number one favourite for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2021 75h Edition Training Flanders Classics 25022021 Julian Alaphilippe FRA Deceuninck QuickStep photo Nico VereeckenPNBettiniPhoto2021
Julian Alaphilippe of Deceuninck-QuickStep rode cobbles on Thursday to prep for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

It never hurts to have a bit of local knowledge. When Julian Alaphilippe performed his lone reconnaissance of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad finale on Thursday afternoon, he heeded the advice of his Deceuninck-QuickStep teammates to pause atop the Muur van Geraardsbergen to sample the area’s delicacy, the mattentaart. “It gave me a little taste of the atmosphere of the Classics,” Alaphilippe told reporters via video call on Friday afternoon.

A little taste is all Alaphilippe has ever had of the cobbled Classics to this point, but the painfully abrupt ending to his Tour of Flanders debut last October has done nothing to diminish the world champion’s appetite for the narrow roads of the Flemish Ardennes.

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Barry Ryan
Head of Features

Barry Ryan is Head of Features at Cyclingnews. He has covered professional cycling since 2010, reporting from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and events from Argentina to Japan. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Procycling and Cycling Plus. He is the author of The Ascent: Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation, published by Gill Books.