The 2022 Tour de France will burn a little less brightly without both world champion Julian Alaphilippe and the winner of 34 stages Mark Cavendish on the start line.
Neither are part of Quick-Step AlphaVinyl’s eight-man squad for the French Grand Tour, Alaphilippe not fully recovering in time from his Liège-Bastogne-Liège crash and Cavendish not selected as the team goes all-in for their Dutch sprinter Fabio Jakobsen.
Instead, Mark Cavendish will be one of two first-reserve riders alongside Florian Sénéchal, with both having won their national road race titles this weekend.
Following his victory in the British national road race championships yesterday, Cavendish said he’d trained as if he was going to the Tour and added it would be “beautiful” to win a 35th Tour stage in the British champion’s jersey and that he knew that if he went to the Tour, he’d win.
“Concerning our reserves, we must stress out that they showed a lot of professionalism, continued to train and remained focused in these past couple of weeks, and even brought two victories at the Nationals,” sports director Tom Steels said before moving on to discuss the absence of Alaphilippe.
“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.”
Alaphilippe has had just one race day since his crash in late April, at the French national road race where he finished 13th.
“I am disappointed to not be at the Tour de France this year,” Alaphilippe added. “I have a natural affection for the race, from my days in the yellow jersey over the past three seasons, my stage victories and many other great memories with my teammates. To miss another opportunity to wear my beautiful rainbow jersey in my home country is very sad for me and I knew that this decision would be difficult for the team to take.”
“At the same time, I completely understand this, because I too don’t want to be at the start if I can’t be at my best level. I want to wish the best of luck to my Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl teammates, I know they will do everything to try to have a great race. I will now focus on getting back to my best shape, because I am motivated to do a strong second part of the season”, said the 30-year-old Frenchman.”
In the squad announcement Quick-Step AlphaVinyl describe Fabio Jakobsen as the “most successful sprinter of the year so far” with his 10 victories in 2022. Three Danish riders also make the squad ahead of the Copenhagen Grand Départ, Kasper Asgreen recovering from a recent crash well enough to make the cut with lead-out specialist Michael Mørkøv and Mikkel Honoré giving the Belgian team the greatest number of Danes of any Tour squad.
The Belgians Yves Lampaert and Tim Declerq as well as the Italians Mattia Cattaneo and Andrea Bagioli complete the eight-man line-up.
“We have riders who can support Fabio, riders who can climb, but who can also do something in the breakaways,” concluded Steels.