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Julian Alaphilippe confirms Tour of Flanders debut

Frenchman looking for 'new challenges' in 2020

Joe Robinson
3 Dec 2019

Velo d'Or winner Julian Alaphilippe will make his Tour of Flanders debut in 2020 as he explores 'new challenges'. The Frenchman was the outstanding rider of 2019 winning Milan-San Remo, Fleche Wallonne and Strade Bianche. He also led the Tour de France for 14 days, finishing an unexpected fifth on General Classification.

Rather than prioritising a tilt for the Tour de France next season, Alaphilippe will head to the cobbles of Northern Europe with Deceuninck-QuickStep before targetting the Ardennes Classics.

Talking to French newspaper L'Equipe, he said: 'I'm going there to see what it's all about, I need new challenges. I'm an important leader for the Ardennes but Patrick [Lefevere] also knows that, if I'm not too bad at Flanders, I'll be important for the team.'

Alaphilippe recalled the conversation he had with Lefevere about Flanders and how his main focus still needed to be Liege-Bastogne-Liege later that spring.

'Patrick said, "We are okay with you doing the Tour of Flanders but do not make it your number one objective, because, if it doesn't work out, we still need you up to Liège".'

The 27-year-old will join a raft of Classics talent at Deceuninck-QuickStep already aiming at Flanders glory. 

Last year's runner-up Kasper Asgreen, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad champion Zdenek Stybar, Bob Jungels and Yves Lampaert will all fancy their chances at 'De Ronde'.

It is likely that if Alaphilippe goes to Flanders, he will be handed a free role to see how he gets on rather than be burdened with the tag of team leader.

It is also unclear whether Alaphilippe will ride any of the smaller semi-Classics beforehand as well or only line up at Flanders. Either way, Alaphilippe is showing his colours as a one-day specialist who is keen to conquer all five of cycling's Monuments.