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VN news ticker: Julian Alaphilippe back in action at Clásica San Sebastián, Lucas Hamilton and Michael Matthews to race Vuelta a España

Here's the news making headlines for Wednesday, July 28.

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Julian Alaphilippe returns to racing at Donostiako Klasikoa

Julian Alaphilippe will be back in action at this weekend’s Clásica San Sebastián, also known as Donostiako Klasikoa.

Former winner Alaphilippe heads up a Deceuninck-Quick-Step crew that also includes Mattia Cattaneo, James Knox and Zdenek Stybar. The Basque race will be Alaphilippe’s first competition since the Tour de France.

“San Sebastián is always a hard race, everybody knows that,” sport director Wilfried Peeters said. “You’ve got a lot of climbing and an extremely tough ascent inside the last 10 kilometers, which since it has been added to the course, it’s been decisive almost every single time. But we have a solid team, built around a former winner of the race, and we go there with the confidence that we can get a good result at the end of the day.”

Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Victorious), Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) and rising superstar Juan Ayuso (UAE-Emirates) are other top names to watch in Saturday’s race.

Lucas Hamilton, Michael Matthews lead BikeExchange at Vuelta a España

Lucas Hamilton and Michael Matthews are expected to top the team sheet for BikeExchange at next month’s Vuelta a España.

Hamilton will lead a GC push after being forced out of the Tour de France in a crash that also took out his teammate Simon Yates.

“We hope for a good Vuelta a España,” team manager Brent Copeland told Tuttobiciweb .

“We will pay close attention to Lucas. He is a great talent and wants to take revenge after an unfortunate Tour. In addition, we aim for stage victories with Michael Matthews. We still have to see if Esteban Chaves starts, before that we will first see how he comes back from the Olympics.”

Matthews will be looking for a fourth Vuelta stage victory after landing six top-1os and finishing second in the points classification at the Tour this month.

Laurens de Plus to take break from bike after diagnosis of viral illness

Laurens de Plus will be taking a break from racing in the coming months.

Ineos Grenadiers confirmed Wednesday that the rising Belgian climber has been diagnosed with an unspecified viral illness.

“The team has worked hard alongside Laurens to diagnose the illness, with a period of enforced rest now required,” read a team statement. “Laurens has the full support of the team and we are looking forward to seeing him back on the bike soon.”

De Plus has had a quiet year in his first of three seasons with Ineos Grenadiers. The 25-year-old rode the Tour de la Provence and Paris-Nice before abandoning race April’s Itzulia Basque Country. He has not raced since.

De Plus was one of the young stars of 2019, where he rode a breakout Tour de France with Jumbo-Visma before winning the BinckBank Tour. Ineos Grenadiers signed de Plus at the start of this season with a view to having his climbing chops reinforce its grand tour armory. De Plus will now have to wait until 2022 to see his first three-week race with his new team.

“The first job for me is to rest, then get back to physical activity step by step,” he wrote on Twitter. “The team will help me with regular meetings and medical checks to monitor how I am getting on over the next few months. Thankful for the incredible support by Ineos Grenadiers.”