Team news: Win for Alaphilippe at Strade Bianche

One of the most thrilling and spectacular one-day races of the year, Strade Bianche, has a new winner in the name of Julian Alaphilippe as he beats Jacob Fuglsang to the line. Wout van Aert was third.

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Team news: Win for Alaphilippe at Strade Bianche

Deceuninck – Quick-Step has now won all five one-day races it started this season with as many different riders

One of the most thrilling and spectacular one-day races of the year, Strade Bianche has a new winner in the name of Julian Alaphilippe, who resumed competition after a high-altitude training camp in Colombia and picked up where he left off, surging to his fourth victory of what’s shaping up to be an outstanding campaign for the 26-year-old, now in his sixth season with Deceuninck – Quick-Step.

Photo credit: © Tim De Waele / Getty Images

“My start to the season was already good, with three victories in South America, but to win here is incredible! My team did a great job and having Yves and Zdenek together with me in the final was perfect for us. I had a good day and strong legs, but was also lucky not to have any crashes or punctures. Strade Bianche was my first big goal of the year, and to win here, at my very first presence, is truly amazing”, said Alaphilippe after becoming the first Frenchman to conquer the Italian World Tour race.

Despite not having the heritage of other one-day races, Strade Bianche has grown in terms of reputation and prestige since 2007 – the year it was created – becoming an instant favourite, and at the same time, one of the most revered, fascinating and unpredictable races on the calendar, dubbed “the sixth Monument of the year” by many, thanks to its unique combo of gravel roads, leg-sapping hills and Tuscan scenery, all leading to the breathtaking finale in Piazza Il Campo, the stunning square commissioned by the Council of Nine more than six centuries ago.

Strade Bianche played totally to our team’s strength, which had again the numbers inside the last 50 kilometers, when Julian Alaphilippe, Belgian Champion Yves Lampaert and Omloop Het Nieuwsblad victor Zdenek Stybar made the cut over the Martino in Grania dirt road sector, part of a 16-man group. Strangely, it was on Monteaparti, at 800 meters, the shortest gravel segment in the race, that the winning move took shape, when Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) accelerated, being joined only by Julian and Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma).
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The trio traded turns until the steep Colle Pinzuto, where the Belgian was dropped, leaving at the front only Alaphilippe and Fuglsang, who traded turns and worked well together, opening a one-minute gap over the main chasing group, where Lampaert and Stybar continued to do a magnificent job in chasing down attacks. Just before Via Esterna di Fontebranda, on the outskirts of Siena, Van Aert bridged to the leading duo, but only for a brief moment, as he was again distanced.

On Via Santa Caterina, the Dane tried to put Julian on the ropes, but Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s pocket-rocket climber responded with ease, before getting out of the saddle and putting in an explosive attack on the 16% gradients, coming round and dispatching his opponent, thus ensuring he would go first into the final corners of the race.

Photo credit: © Tim De Waele / Getty Images

Alaphilippe took his small gap onto the downhill finishing stretch in Piazza del Campo, where he celebrated his fourth victory of the season and delivering another perfect day for Deceuninck – Quick-Step, who placed three more riders in the top 15 – Zdenek Stybar (4th), Yves Lampaert (11th) and Pieter Serry (13th) – and maintained a tight grip on the World Team Classification.

“In every race, others are looking at us to take the responsibility, and that’s what we did today. We were with three riders in the main selection, controlled every move and did a really smart race in all the key moments. When Fuglsang went, I knew that it might be the winning move. He was very strong today, but I made no mistakes and remained confident, although it wasn’t until the final corner that I believed I could win this race, in my opinion, one of the toughest of the calendar. It’s a wonderful victory, one which makes me extremely happy and boosts my confidence ahead of Tirreno-Adriatico”, concluded Julian after netting Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s third win at Strade Bianche.… continued after advert


Other Reactions:
Tim Wellens: “We tried to the split the peloton several times during the race but eventually, I took the initiative myself which resulted in a group of fifteen riders at the front. That was a very good situation for us. When Fuglsang accelerated, I was too far back and I did not have the punch to still react. When three riders escape and they have with Lampaert, Štybar and Lutsenko still three teammates in the chasing group, it is an almost impossible task to still organize the chase. That way, we consistently lost time. In the end, the three escapees have proven to be the strongest today. Unfortunately, it was a battle for top ten for me.”

Tiesj Benoot: “It was a fast and dangerous race today. You are always in doubt after a crash like the one last week. But if you finish fifth, those doubts have now been taken away and that gives me high hopes for the coming weeks. Winning like I did last year is never easy. I was one of the strongest riders in the chasing group. If you battle against riders like Štybar, Van Avermaet and Lutsenko for fourth place, you can’t complain. But if you start the race to win, you are of course disappointed if you are not on the podium. During the decisive moment, I chose the wheel of Lutsenko – who was then riding at the front – because he seemed very strong. When they attacked, it was difficult to react. During the finale, I still tried something but with some riders not cooperating, that was not easy. Of course, you hope for a better result but I have to be satisfied with fifth place.”

Greg Van Avermaet: “It was super hard, like always. I think the strongest guy won. For me, I had a good day but not a super day but I tried to do as well as possible and I was really happy with how I ended up in the final. I tried my best and it’s not an easy race to win. It is always important on the sectors to stay safe and in front and I was always there. So it was a perfect race, actually. Then, when Fulgsang went I was quite far behind and actually, only Alaphilippe could make the jump over to it. Then, it was not that easy to come back into the race but I’m pretty happy.”

“It’s hard to always fight against them [three riders from Deceuninck-QuickStep) so you have to make choices and in this kind of race, Alaphilippe was by far the strongest. I did my own race but I didn’t have the same legs as last week. I didn’t have the legs to win today so I can be happy with sixth place.”

1. Julian Alaphillipe
2. Jakob Fuglsang
3. Wout van Aert
4. Zdenek Stybar
5. Tiesj Benoot
6. Greg van Avermaet

12. Geraint Thomas
65. Owain Doull


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