Strong start from the Wolfpack at La Provence
Tour de la Provence marked Julian Alaphilippe’s first outing since last October’s Il Lombardia, which he concluded sixth, just two weeks after successfully defending his rainbow jersey. Present at the French race for the third time in his career, the 29-year-old got off to a solid start in the 7.1km prologue hosted by Berre-l’Étang, a small town lying just 30 kilometers from Marseille.
Last Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl on the start ramp, Alaphilippe put in a good effort which saw him conclude in sixth position, just 17 seconds off the time of Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers), who took the win.
“I’m really happy to be here and get my season underway. Doing it with a prologue was demanding and gave me the opportunity to see where I am after this winter. I wanted to do my best and see where that took me. At the end of the day, I am satisfied and already looking forward to the next stages. There is zero pressure in the team, but we will try our best until Sunday. The objective is to have fun and find the race rhythm again. The motivation is there and if there will be an opportunity for a stage victory, we’ll try to grab it”, said the World Champion.
Julian wasn’t the only Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl rider to have a solid outing in the short time trial: both Dries Devenyns and newcomer Ilan Van Wilder were up there Thursday afternoon, finishing ninth and tenth, respectively.
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