There is no room for Mark Cavendish or Julian Alaphilippe in Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl's Tour de France squad, with Fabio Jakobsen preferred as the sprinting option over the former.
The eight-man team was announced on Monday afternoon, four days before the Tour starts in Copenhagen on Friday. It means no record-breaking for Cavendish, with the 37-year-old stuck on 34 stage victories at the race, tied with Eddy Merckx.
It had already been reported that Alaphilippe would miss out, due to injuries sustained in a horror crash at Liège-Bastogne-Liège in April. However, there was still hope for Cavendish, after the Manxman took his second British National Road victory on Sunday.
Despite this, Dutchman Jakobsen has been preferred to Cavendish, with his superior sprinting record this season - 10 wins to five - likely to be part of the reason.
The other seven riders to be lining up on the start line in Copenhagen on Friday are Kasper Asgreen, Andrea Bagioli, Mattia Cattaneo, Tim Declercq, Mikkel Honoré, Yves Lampaert, and Michael Mørkøv.
Cavendish and Florian Sénéchal have been named as "first-reserve" riders.
This will be Jakobsen's first Tour de France, after two successful editions of the Vuelta a España, where he has won five stages. The 25-year-old was seriously injured in a life-threatening crash two years ago at the Tour of Poland, but has now successfully returned to the top of the sport.
“We have riders who can support Fabio, riders who can climb, but who can also do something in the breakaways." Quick-Step directeur sportif Tom Steels said in a statement. "Kasper, Yves and Michael will form a solid lead-out train for Fabio, who has proved how fast and strong he is in the sprints and will now get to discover Le Tour.
"Tim will be the guy to help him not only on the flat, but also in the mountains, where he’ll take care that Fabio makes it inside the time limit. Mattia is very flexible, has more experience now and can go in some breakaways, where Andrea and Mikkel can support him.
"Mikkel has improved a lot since joining the team and deserves his place in the team, while Andrea is a winner and has shown he has the mentality to compete with the best."
Both Cavendish and Sénéchal won their respect national championship road races at the weekend. “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," Steels said.
As for Alaphilippe, Quick-Step said that the Frenchman was not yet back at 100% following his crash. The 30-year-old said he was disappointed not to be there,
"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," he said in a statement.
"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," Alaphilippe continued. "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."
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