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Tour de France

Mathieu van der Poel, Jasper Philipsen lead Alpecin-Fenix stage-hunt rampage at Tour de France

Van der Poel at center of team looking to put new partner Deceuninck at front of Tour de France frame.

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Alpecin-Fenix is going on the rampage for stages at the Tour de France.

Dazzling Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel and rising sprint ace Jasper Philipsen lead an octet built for business on all terrains as the team enters its new era as Alpecin-Deceuninck.

Silvan Dillier, Michael Gogl, Kristian Sbaragli, Guillaume van Keirsbulck, Alexander Krieger and Edward Planckaert complete the team to form a roving rabble of rouleurs and fast-finishers.

There’s no space for newly crowned Belgian champ Tim Merlier, who’s on the move to Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl next season.

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Van der Poel is on a mission to finish what he pick up where he left off at last year’s Tour. Stage victory and six days in the yellow jersey saw Van der Poel light up the opening week in a bombastic blaze before he bailed out for the MTB Olympics.

Stage wins are firmly back on Van der Poel’s agenda for 2022 – and maybe a bit more time in yellow after the opening TT of the grand départ. What’s not in the Dutchman’s diary is a jersey of a different hue.

“No, I’m not going to get involved in the battle for the green jersey,” Van der Poel told Wielerflits. “It takes away a lot of freedom, while I want to fully focus on stage wins.”

Van der Poel could reap a rich harvest as early as the Tour’s first week, hot off the back of his all-out assault on the Giro d’Italia last month.

The 13km Copenhagen TT, a series of awkward sprint stages, the cobblestones of stage 5, and a kicking finish the day after could all see “MvdP” add to the collection he started on the Mûr-de-Bretagne last summer.

Philipsen will step in for the faster finishes. Philipsen beat alpha sprinter Fabio Jakobsen twice in the opening week of last year’s Vuelta a España and racked up four more wins this year to position himself as one to watch in the Tour’s bunch-kicks.

Marauding riders like Gogl, Dillier and Sbaragli will bring support for Van der Poel and add even more options for the team to put new partner Deceuninck at the front of the frame at the earliest opportunity.