Julian Alaphilippe out of Milan-San Remo with bronchitis, Jakobsen preferred to Cavendish for Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl

World champion had raced every edition since 2017, winning once

Julian Alpahilippe
(Image credit: Getty Images)

World champion Julian Alaphilippe is to miss Milan-San Remo on Saturday after coming down with a case on bronchitis.

Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl confirmed their team on Wednesday morning, and the 2019 winner was missing from the lineup.

Alaphilippe won three years ago, but has also finished on the podium at the race on two separate occasions: 3rd in 2017 behind Michał Kwiatkowski, and 2nd in 2020 behind Wout van Aert.

"No Milano-San Remo for me on Saturday. Bronchitis + fever = X," he wrote on social media.

"Sad to leave the team, especially after a difficult week of racing on Tirreno where I felt the legs were coming back well despite my crash at Strade Bianche. Rest and patience on the program. See you soon."

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In Alaphilippe's place Fabio Jakobsen has been parachuted in, with the Dutch sprinter in red hot form so far this year. It will be his first appearance at the monument, which has been won by sprinters in the past, including his teammate Mark Cavendish in 2009.

Speaking earlier this year, Jakobsen said that he first need to "experience" San Remo before he could work out if he could win it. The Dutchman is preferred over Cavendish despite the latter already being in Italy and racing Milan-Torino on Wednesday.

Davide Bramati, a Quick-Step sports director, said: "Milano-Sanremo is an event we love and which we are always happy to race, but this year we know the chances won’t favour us, as we can’t count on Julian, who we hope will make a fast and complete recovery. 

"We have a young team at the start, featuring also Fabio, who has had a great season so far and will make his first appearance here. Despite not being among the favourites, we are still motivated to do a good race."

As well as Jakobsen, Andrea Bagioli, Davide Ballerini, Mattia Cattaneo, Mikkel Honoré, Florian Sénéchal and Zdeněk Štybar will ride.

He is not the only star to be missing from the startlist due to illness, with Paris-Roubaix champion Sonny Colbrelli also absent with bronchitis. He has finished in the top-10 on four separate occasions.

He was one of the many who dropped out of Paris-Nice last week with health problems, and the Italian said on Instagram that he needs to continue to recover before returning to racing.

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Adam Becket
Senior news and features writer

Adam is Cycling Weekly’s senior news and feature writer – his greatest love is road racing but as long as he is cycling on tarmac, he's happy. Before joining Cycling Weekly he spent two years writing for Procycling, where he interviewed riders and wrote about racing, speaking to people as varied as Demi Vollering to Philippe Gilbert. Before cycling took over his professional life, he covered ecclesiastical matters at the world’s largest Anglican newspaper and politics at Business Insider. Don't ask how that is related to cycling.