Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal-Quickstep) was not resiling from the truth that the final two seasons have not been what he hoped for as he spoke to the media earlier than taking over the Tour Down Beneath, however the Frenchman made it clear that the race will mark an early begin to his effort to show that round.
“I really feel good, I really feel relaxed,” mentioned Alaphilippe, who actually lookied it as he swapped asides with Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers), who was seated to his proper. “I had a straightforward winter with none issues. I didn’t prepare too arduous and I’ve additionally not too unhealthy form.
“I really feel actually able to race and I hope to enhance my form for the following month, it could be vital for racing in Belgium, however we’re centered on right here first and I feel it’s a lovely race to start out the season.”
The French rider final lined up on the Tour Down Beneath proper on the very begin of his skilled profession in 2014. This time round, he finds himself taking the beginning line at one other vital juncture in his profession. His present contract expires on the of 2024, and he has claimed simply two wins in every of the previous two seasons, having missed the mark on a few of his large targets.
The 2-time world champion has modified round his first a part of the season, launching into the warmth of an Australian summer time with hopes the workforce can proceed the successful begin delivered by the AG Insurance coverage-Soudal ladies’s workforce, which took two of the three phases and total victory on the ladies’s Tour Down Beneath.
“We have now a very good workforce to benefit from the race, to attempt to win one thing even when we don’t have any stress now as a result of the ladies received their race,” he mentioned with a chuckle.
However does that make him one of many favourites on the Australian six stage race?
“I don’t know,” mentioned Alaphilippe. “For positive I’m motivated to do my finest. You by no means understand how you’ll really feel throughout the first race of the season. Will probably be the primary large effort and in addition with the warmth it’s a must to watch out. I feel it is a vital 12 months for me to attempt to come again on my finest degree and I’ll give my finest. I’ve no stress, I simply wish to get pleasure from.”
The Tour Down Beneath begins on Tuesday with a stage that’s anticipated to be one for the sprinters, with three loops of a circuit beginning and ending in Tanunda, then stage 2 to Lobethal has sufficient climbs scattered all through that it may very well be a day for the break. Stage 3 and 4 are then possible days for the sprinters earlier than the race strikes on to a weekend of summit finishes, first with Willunga Hill on Saturday after which Mount Lofty on Sunday.