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Tour de France

Tour de France: No Mark Cavendish or Julian Alaphilippe as Quick-Step focuses on Fabio Jakobsen

Team goes all-in for Dutch sprinter, leaves world champion and record-chaser Cavendish at home.

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Mark Cavendish and Julian Alaphilippe are both out of Patrick Lefevere’s Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team for the Tour de France, with the Belgian squad to focus on sprinter Fabio Jakobsen.

Alaphilippe missed a block of the season after a horror crash at Liege-Bastogne-Liege in April. He only returned to racing last weekend at the French national championships, where he secured 13th in the men’s road race. That wasn’t enough to secure a spot in the team and the world champion will instead focus on goals later in the season.

Cavendish’s omission comes after he won four stages and the green jersey in last year’s race. He is currently tied on 34 with Eddy Merckx for the most Tour de France wins but will have to wait another year before possibly returning to the race. The British rider has been listed as one of two reserves for the race.

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The veteran sprinter had been locked in a two-man battle with Jakobsen for the sprinter spot on Quick-Step but the Dutch rider has been a consistent winner all year, and despite never racing the Tour, has been given the green light by Lefevere.

The omissions of Cavendish and Alaphilippe mean that the Belgian team heads to the Tour without a single former stage winner in their ranks.

Joining Jakobsen for the race are his trusted leadout man Michael Mørkøv, Kasper Asgreen, Yves Lampaert, Mattia Cattaneo, Tim Declercq and Tour debutants Mikkel Honoré and Andrea Bagioli.

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

“The decision to leave Julian home was a very difficult one, as he is one of the team’s most emblematic riders and we wrote so many great moments together at the Tour. Julian worked hard to get back into shape after what happened to him in Liège, but it is felt that for a rider like him it’s always important to be on top of his game and be able to compete with the best riders of the peloton in a race like Le Tour. That’s why we decided to give him more time to recover and build back his condition, so that he can be at 100% for the second part of the season”, added Steels.

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What’s it like to be an American cyclist living in France? Watch to get professional road cyclist Joe Dombrowski’s view.