The rainbow jersey headlines our squad for the Belgian race.
Julian Alaphilippe will be back in Leuven less than a year after successfully defending his World Champion title and extending his spell in the rainbow jersey for twelve more months. The Frenchman – who took a win last month at the Tour de Wallonie before retiring from the race through illness – will be seen in action this week at the Tour of Leuven – Memorial Jef Scherens, the one-day race named in honor of the track sprint legend, a winner of seven world titles in the ‘30s and ‘40s.
The hilly 199.3km circuit features many of the roads that Julian tackled last September on his way to a second consecutive rainbow jersey, meaning the attackers will have the upper hand at this 55th edition, although some sprinters can hope for a chance of being in the mix at the finish. Together with Alaphilippe, Iljo Keisse, Stijn Steels, Zdenek Stybar, neo-pro Martin Svrcek – who will make his debut for the team – Bert Van Lerberghe and Stan Van Tricht will be on the start line for Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl.
“We have a couple of guys who came out from illness, so it remains to be seen what we can do on Sunday. As always, the motivation is there and we hope for a good outing on this hard course that will include some climbs from last year’s Worlds. We are also looking forward to seeing Martin in action in what will be his first race with the Wolfpack”, said sports director Rik Van Slycke.
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