Fernando Gaviria, Julian Alaphilippe and Philippe Gilbert will headline a strong squad for Quick-Step Floors at the Tour de France this July. Liege-Bastogne-Liege winner Bob Jungels has been named as the team’s general classification leader, while newly crowned Belgian champion Yves Lampaert will get to show off his national colours at his debut Grande Boucle.
Former Paris-Roubaix winner, and third place this year, Niki Terpstra has also earned a spot while lead-out man Max Richeze will be there to help guide Gaviria in the sprint finishes. Powerful workhorse Tim Declercq completes the line-up for the Belgian squad. Between them, the eight-man team have already taken 20 victories in what has been another strong year for the Quick-Step squad.
Quick-Step Floors dominated the sprint competition at the Tour last season with Marcel Kittel claiming five stages. He also looked set to seal the green jersey competition before abandoning in the final week. Kittel switched teams over the winter after it became clear that Gaviria would receive preference at the 2018 Tour de France.
The Colombian is making his Tour debut after a stunning performance at the 2017 Giro d’Italia, where he notched up four stage wins and the maglia ciclamino. There are high expectations on the Colombian but the team are trying to keep the pressure off as he finds his feet in the season’s biggest race. He will have trusty lead-out man Richeze to help him through the melee.
Alaphilippe will be the primary focus for the home crowd as he returns to the Tour after missing out last year due to a knee injury. After the illness-effected 2017 campaign, Alaphilippe enjoyed his best-ever Ardennes with victory at Fleche Wallonne and top 10s in Amstel Gold Race and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. He recently won a stage of the Criterium du Dauphine. Jungels ensured a dominant Ardennes for the Belgian outfit when he soloed to victory at Liege-Bastogne-Liege. This is Jungels’ second Tour de France after two top-10 placings at the Giro d’Italia.
“Bob returns to the Tour with a goal to see how far he can go in GC,” directeur sportif Tom Steels said in a team press release. “He has recovered well from the first part of the season and is ready for the challenge. The same goes for Julian, who was sidelined last year due to an injury. As one of the most versatile riders in the peloton, we can expect a bit of everything from this talented young Frenchman and we look forward to seeing him racing a Grand Tour on home soil again."
"It is no secret that we aim to take a victory with Fernando, who will debut in the Tour as well. He amazed the cycling scene last year by winning four stages and the cyclamen jersey at the Giro d'Italia, but the level of the Tour is different with the presence of the best sprinters, lead-out men, domestiques and helpers in the world. Richeze will be extremely important for Fernando, especially in the final kilometres, where he will use his experience and power to pilot Fernando into the best possible position to launch his sprint, like they have successfully done in the past years.”
The first week provides Quick-Step with several opportunities to contest for victory, with Gaviria covering the sprint stages, while Alaphilippe and Gilbert are contenders for the stage 6 finish on the Mur de Bretagne. Terpstra will also have his eyes set on the Roubaix stage at the end of the opening week.
The Tour de France begins on July 7 and finishes on July 29.
Quick-Step Floors for the Tour de France: Julian Alaphilippe, Tim Declercq, Fernando Gaviria, Philippe Gilbert, Bob Jungels, Yves Lampaert, Maximiliano Richeze and Niki Terpstra.