Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl takes on the Provence crosswinds

Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl takes on the Provence crosswinds

Battered by savage crosswinds and broken into echelons, stage 1 of the Tour de la Provence offered plenty of opportunities to race aggressively after the first 70 kilometers, and when it happened, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl was among the main protagonists, with World Champion Julian Alaphilippe playing a leading role.

The race exploded 80 kilometers from the finish in Saintes-Maries-de-le-Mer, when several teams put the hammer down and split the bunch, leaving only 25 riders in the group, including Julian Alaphilippe, Ilan Van Wilder and Louis Vervaeke. The Wolfpack trio came through and helped the front echelon gradually increase their advantage, which reached two minutes inside 30 kilometers to go. Alaphilippe was extremely active, mopping up the bonus seconds at both intermediate sprints and even launching an attack eight kilometers from the line.

Caught after one kilometer, the rainbow jersey wearer remained close to the head of the group which began shedding riders on the long and exposed roads to Saintes-Maries-de-le-Mer and got involved in the reduced sprint, finishing just behind Elia Viviani (Ineos-Grenadiers) and Sep Vanmarcke (Israel-PremierTech) for his first podium of the season. Third on this insane stage 1 of the French race, the 29-year-old made up significant ground in the general classification, where only four seconds separate him now from the lead with the toughest stages still to come.

“Everyone awaited a nervous and fast day, which was the case in the end. We were well represented at the front, and I’m happy, as the legs were good and I had fun. Once the split was made, everybody was committed, rode à bloc and contributed to the fierce pace that was driven at the front. In the finale, I knew it would be difficult to win the sprint with Elia, but that didn’t stop me from trying. It’s been a really nice start to the race and I’m already looking forward to the weekend. There will be two more opportunities for us and we’ll try our best”, said Julian after a visit to the podium, where he pulled on the jersey awarded to the points standings leader.

 

Photo credit: ©Luc Claessen / Getty Images

Related items

Strong start from the Wolfpack at La Provence

Strong start from the Wolfpack at La Provence

10/02/2022 - Race report
Link
Tour de la Provence - stage 1

Tour de la Provence - stage 1

11/02/2022 - Road
Link