Van der Poel not targeting green jersey at Tour de France

Jasper Philipsen will be the main sprinter at Alpecin-Fenix

Van der Poel
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Mathieu Van der Poel will not target the green jersey at the Tour de France in July with his Alpecin-Fenix team backing Jasper Philipsen in the bunch sprints, according to reports.

The Dutch road and cyclo-cross ace will instead target stage wins. 

Het Laatste Nieuws reports that Philipsen, who will arrive at the Tour fresh from a training camp at La Plagne, France, will be the team's main rider to challenge for sprint stage wins. Despite tasting success in the Tour de France last year, Tim Merlier will reportedly sit out the race.

Jasper Philipsen at the 2021 Tour of Turkey

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Philipsen told the paper: “Last year I finished second three times and third three times in the Tour. This year I definitely want to win. I have worked hard to be top during this period." 

Although the 24 year-old admitted that going up against Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) would be a huge challenge, “I’m not green yet, let me try to win a stage first. By the way, if someone like Wout Van Aert is aiming for green, it will be very difficult for me to do the same."

Wout van Aert wins stage five of the Critérium du Dauphiné 2022

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Van der Poel might seem a more natural challenger to green jersey favourite Van Aert, but the report said after a tough Giro d’Italia his team do not plan on piling the pressure onto the Dutchman. Van der Poel is currently on an altitude training camp in Livigno, Italy.

After a strong display at the Tour de Suisse this week, Peter Sagan (TotalEnergies) appears to be coming back into form ahead of the Tour de France.

Sagan’s win on stage three in Switzerland saw him outmanoeuvre his challengers before sprinting for victory. In taking his first WorldTour win in over a year, the former world champion displayed the same attributes that won him  the points jersey at the Tour on seven occasions. It may raise hopes among the Slovak's many fans that he can contend for that prize again.

However, Sagan was quick to downplay his 18th Tour de Suisse stage win: "It’s just a stage win. I’m happy for that and happy for the team. They all did a great job pulling with another team all day. In the end I just made it," he said.

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Tom Thewlis

Tom is a News and Features Writer at Cycling Weekly, and previously worked in communications at Oxford Brookes University. He has reported from a wide range of races and events including the Tour de France and World Championships.