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Jasper Philipsen eyes Vuelta debut

Up-and-coming sprinter denied Tour spot by veteran teammate Kristoff, misses opportunity at cobbled monuments due to calendar clashes.

Up-and-coming Belgian hopeful Jasper Philipsen is just one of many riders biting at the bit to return to racing, and along with his UAE-Emirates team, has started to sketch out his schedule.

“I’m still fine-tuning my program, but the plan is to be ready immediately when the competition resumes in August,” Philipsen told Het Laatste Nieuws. The 22-year-old understands that the final UCI calendar will only be announced on June 9, but his main focus of the season will be certain one-day races and the Vuelta a España.

Philipsen added that considering the difficulty of this year’s Tour de France his team is focusing on experienced sprinter Alexander Kristoff and GC-hopeful Tadej Pogacar.

The only problem for Philipsen is that by focusing on the Vuelta, he will be denied his opportunity at the one-day classics that most suit him, as the Tour of Flanders is scheduled just two days before the start of the Vuelta on October 20 and Paris-Roubaix is squarely in the middle of the great Spanish race on October 25.

Philipsen made his Tour de France debut last year and scored three top-ten finishes. He backed up his promising 2019 with a strong start to this season, scoring a number of top-five finishes in the Santos Down Under and winning the overall points classification.