The Deceuninck-QuickStep team have won 46 races so far this season and are hungry to continue their winning streak at the Tour de France, targeting the opening stage – and with it the first race leader’s yellow jersey – on Saturday through Elia Viviani and also Sunday’s team time trial. Both stages take place in Brussels, and if the Belgian team can win on home roads, they hope the momentum will help Julian Alaphilippe win other stages and inspire Enric Mas to perform well in the general classification.
Team manager Patrick Lefevere is always hungry for success but also knows how to avoid putting hid riders under too much pressure.
“I’ll be happy if we keep winning. We’re ambitious, especially for the opening stages. We’ve also got Enric for the GC in his first Tour and let’s have some fun with Julian Alaphilippe like last year,” Lefevere said on Thursday.
“Of course, everything looks beautiful on paper. A few years ago we thought we’d win a lot with [Marcel] Kittel but [Mark] Cavendish beat us three times. So let’s keep our feet on the ground, too, let stay focused and I’m sure everything will go alright.”
Viviani and Alaphilippe took centre stage at Deceuninck-QuickStep’s press event in a Brussels Lidl supermarket.
The Italian showed signs that the expectations and pressure on him are growing as the hours count down to the expected first sprint in Brussels. He was happy to get his sprinting back on track at the Tour de Suisse after a disastrous Giro d’Italia and was happy to have key lead-out men Maximiliano Richeze and Michael Morkov with him in the eight-rider squad for the Tour de France.
Alaphilippe hints at a spell in yellow
You can read more at Cyclingnews.com