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“Remco and Julian will be the leaders of the squad for this last grand tour of the season, one comprising many hard stages, from the basque country ones to those in the high mountains,” said sports director Klaas Lodewyck.
Also read: Vuelta a España essential preview
Alaphilippe will be on a mission to put a U-turn on a season derailed by illness, crashes, and injuries when the Vuelta rolls out of Utrecht on Friday.
A long list of injuries sustained in a high-speed crash at Liège-Bastogne-Liège saw the double world champion miss the Tour de France for the first time in five years before suffering COVID setbacks as he scrambled to build form through late summer.
“Julian comes at the start after a tough season, but he has been working hard and will target some of the stages,” Lodewyck said.
Quick-Step will take an unfamiliar complexion in Spain.
No sprinter is on the line-up as the team clusters around Evenepoel and the huge hype he brings to the startline. The 22-year-old often breezes through stage races but started to swing through the back half of his Giro d’Italia debut last year.
Top talents like Rémi Cavagna, Peter Serry, and Fausto Masnada will give Evenepoel a supporting cast for all terrain in Spain.
“For Remco, this will be a whole new adventure. He doesn’t start as a favorite for the general classification, and we will just take it day by day and see how things go,” Lodewyck said.
Evenepoel’s ruthless run of success through the season and bludgeoning victory in San Sebastian at the turn of this month sees him touted alongside established grand tour stars like Richard Carapaz, Simon Yates, and João Almeida in the race for the red jersey.
Can Evenepoel and Alaphilippe convert their “adventure” into some Spanish treasure in the next month?
It will likely provide some rich narrative, either way.
“The two of them have a strong supporting cast, the entire team is ready and motivated, and we look forward to the next couple of weeks,” Lodewyck said.
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl to Vuelta a España:
Ilan Van Wilder