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by Dane Cash
August 25, 2020
Photography by Cor Vos
Deceuninck-Quick-Step will look to Julian Alaphilippe and Sam Bennett to lead the way at the upcoming Tour de France. The Belgian WorldTour squad unveiled its roster for the race on Monday.
In line with what both Alaphilippe and the team have been saying over the past few months, Deceuninck reiterated in its roster announcement that there is no expectation of the Frenchman repeating his brilliant performance from the 2019 Tour, which saw him lead the race into the final week. That said, the team did not entirely rule out any possibility of Alaphilippe contending for yellow either.
“For Julian it will be very difficult to repeat last year’s Tour, but at the same time, it’s not necessary to do it. We will take it with him day by day and see what happens,” said sports director Tom Steels. “There are some nice opportunities for him, but I can tell you we aren’t thinking of a scenario similar to that of the previous Tour.”
While Alaphilippe is focused on the hillier and possibly even the mountainous stages, Bennett will be the featured rider in the sprints in his first season with Deceuninck. The race will mark his third appearance at the Tour, although neither of his prior starts have seen him enter the race as a favorite for the fast finishes in the way that he is now.
“In Sam, we have a contender for the bunch sprints, which won’t be so straightforward as in the past, the route being one of the toughest in recent memory,” Steels said. “I think there are maximum four clear stages for sprinters spread over the three weeks.”
Beyond Alaphilippe and Bennett, the team will have Michael Morkov, Kasper Asgreen, Zdenek Stybar, Bob Jungels, Dries Devenyns, and Tim Declercq for the race, which gets underway in Nice on Saturday.