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Strade Bianche, Milano-Sanremo early season targets for Julian Alaphilippe

Two-time defending champion confirms season debut at Tour de la Provence with early season focus on the spring classics.

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Julian Alaphilippe just wants to have fun in his second season in the rainbow jersey.

The French star admitted the weight of the world championship jersey slowed him down in 2021. He’s having none of that in 2022, and is going back to his roots.

That means more attacking and more fun in the races he likes.

At the top of the list are Strade Bianche and Milano-Sanremo, two races he won in spectacular fashion in 2019.

“First and foremost, I want to enjoy my second year in the rainbow jersey,” Alaphilippe said in a press note. “Having it gives me extra motivation to fight for victory in the biggest races on the calendar.”

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Alaphilippe, who is joining his Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl teammates in Spain this week for a pre-season training camp, will debut at the Tour de la Provence.

After racing through Italy, including Tirreno-Adriatico, it’s all eyes on the spring classics.

The big difference this year? No start at the Tour of Flanders, which he’s raced the past two editions.

Liège-Bastogne-Liège, which he’s never won, is at the top of the wishlist in the first half of 2022.

And by detouring around Flanders, he hopes to arrive in top condition for the Belgian monument in the Ardennes.

“My season will continue in Italy, with Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico, and Milano-Sanremo, before switching to the Ardennes classics in April. These are races that suit me and where I want to do good,” he said. “Liège-Bastogne-Liège will be the biggest goal in the first part of the year, is a race I love and hopefully I will be up there again, fighting for victory.”

Spring racing calendar for Julian Alaphilippe

Tour de la Provence

Faun-Ardèche Classic

Drome Classic

Strade Bianche

Tirreno-Adriatico

Milano-Sanremo

Itzulia Basque Country

Amstel Gold Race

Flèche Wallonne

Liège-Bastogne-Liège