Julian Alaphilippe will be on the hunt for another Monument next season as he makes his debut in the Tour of Flanders.
After an astonishing 2019 season, which included countless major victories and two weeks in the yellow jersey at the Tour de France, Alaphilippe says he is looking for a new challenge.
The Frenchman has never ridden the cobbled Classics but plans to try his luck on the sharp Belgian climbs of Flanders in the first week of April.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider Alaphilippe told French newspaper L’Equipe: “I’m going to see what it’s all about. I need new challenges.”
Alaphilippe has always focussed on the Ardennes Classics later in the spring where he has been a consistent protagonist, winning two editions of Flèche Wallone and finishing second in Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2015.
While he will be making his debut on the cobbles, Alaphilippe will still be focussed on the Ardennes week.
He said: “I’m an important leader for the Ardennes but Patrick [Lefevere, Quick-Step team boss) knows if I’m not too bad at Flanders I’ll be important for the team.
“Patrick said ‘we are okay with you doing the Tour of Flanders but do not make it your number one objective, because if it doesn’t work out we still need you at Liège.”
Quick-Step are consistently the stand-out stars of the spring Classics, this year winning Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, Le Samyn, Paris-Roubaix, Strade Bianche, and Milan-San Remo (the latter two won by Alaphilippe).
Alaphilippe’s early racing schedule is starting to fill out already, as he is expected to race the Tour Colombia and Paris-Nice before he heads to Flanders.
He will then take on Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallone and Liège before turning his attention to the Tour de France.