MARSEILLE: Julian Alaphilippe will pull on his world champion’s jersey for the primary time this 12 months on Thursday at Tour de La Provence, however he’ll face stiff opposition from former Tour de France winner Egan Bernal.
Topped phrase champ at Imola in September, Alaphilippe has had little alternative to indicate off his new rainbow outfit.
The Deceuninck-Fast-Step rider got here fifth in Liege-Bastogne-Liege and received the Fleche Brabanconne in October however was then compelled to retire from the Tour of Flanders after a crash that resulted in a fractured proper wrist.
4 months later, he might be beginning a brand new season for the primary time in his skilled profession in his native France.
“I’ve by no means began a season in France, it may be a primary, it is nice,” he stated lately.
“I actually wish to make this rainbow jersey shine and make myself completely satisfied.”
Alaphilippe will have the ability to reap the benefits of his puncher qualities at the beginning of Six-Fours-les-Plages on Thursday and Manosque on Friday, however the queen stage will happen on the slopes of Mont Ventoux on Saturday, with a end at chalet Reynard — 14.6km at 7.6 p.c — the place Nairo Quintana carved out his success final 12 months.
The Colombian just isn’t again to defend his title however his compatriot Egan Bernal is a late addition to the sphere and the Ineos rider will begin as favorite.
The 2019 winner of the Tour de France goes into the race after a paradoxical Etoile de Besseges final week when he was a member of the victorious breakaway on Friday after which freewheeled the next levels to return in sixty fourth general, over six hours behind the winner.