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Mark Cavendish and world champion Julian Alaphilippe are both absent from the QuickStep-AlphaVinyl Tour de France team with the Belgian squad opting to build their hopes around sprinter Fabio Jakobsen, Kasper Asgreen and Mattia Cattaneo. 

Cavendish won the British national road race championships on Sunday and four stages and the green points jersey in 2021, but QuickStep-AlphaVinyl had always planned for Jakobsen to be their single sprint option. Cavendish was named as a reserve, on standby to travel to Copenhagen if needed. New French national champion Florian Sénéchal is another reserve. 

Alaphilippe rode the French national championships but struggled to find the form needed for the three-week Grand Tour following his high-speed crash at Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

The eight riders selected are: Kasper Asgreen, Andrea Bagioli, Mattia Cattaneo, Tim Declercq, Mikkel Honoré, Fabio Jakobsen, Yves Lampaert and Michael Mørkøv.

“We have riders who can support Fabio, riders who can climb, but who can also do something in the breakaways,” said directeur sportif Tom Steels.

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“Kasper, Yves and Michael will form a solid lead-out train for Fabio, who has proved how fast and strong he is in the sprints and will now get to discover Le Tour.

“Tim will be the guy to help him not only on the flat, but also in the mountains, where he’ll take care that Fabio makes it inside the time limit.

“Mattia is very flexible, has more experience now and can go in some breakaways, where Andrea and Mikkel can support him. Mikkel has improved a lot since joining the team and deserves his place in the team, while Andrea is a winner and has shown he has the mentality to compete with the best.”

SOURCE: CyclingNews   (go to source)
AUTHOR: Stephen Farrand
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