Can Julian Alaphilippe and Remco Evenepoel save Quick-Step’s spring season?
Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday and Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday provide the Belgian team a last chance to 'save' its uneven spring season.
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Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl‘s hopes of spring season salvation on Sunday at Paris-Roubaix were shattered when Yves Lampaert clipped a fan with about 8km to go.
The Belgian was riding toward a possible podium finish when he lost control after a fan stepped into his path, and crashed and landed on his back.
All spring, team boss Patrick Lefevere’s been saying the team’s balance will be made after Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
With the dust settling on the cobblestone classics, all eyes turn to the Ardennes. Can Julian Alaphilippe and Remco Evenepoel save the team’s spring campaign?
Up first is Wednesday’s Flèche Wallonne, ending atop the famous Mur de Huy.
“We go with a strong team to Flèche Wallonne, a race we know and like,” said sports director Klaas Lodewyck. “Having Julian, who has shown a good condition in the Basque Country at the beginning of the month, as our leader gives us a lot of confidence that we can be in the mix again and fight for a good result, just like at the previous editions.”
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The French reigning world champion brings a tremendous track record to the mid-week Belgian classic.
In five career starts, Alaphilippe has won three times (2018, 2019 and 2021), and finished second on two occasions.
Evenepoel will make his first start in the Ardennes, and will race at Flèche as well as Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday.
Evenepoel is on good form, but could find the explosive wall on the closing lap perhaps a touch too much for his style of racing. After coming off sixth at Brabantse Pijl, where he was criticized for pushing Ben Turner during the race, Evenepoel will be looking for a strong showing.
Other starters include Pieter Serry, neo-pro Stan Van Tricht, Mauri Vansevenant, Ilan Van Wilder, and Louis Vervaeke.