Quick Step finalizes ambitious plans: Evenepoel will Face Roglic and Vingegaard sooner, Alaphilippe will make his debut in the Giro Cycling

Quick Step finalizes ambitious plans: Evenepoel will Face Roglic and Vingegaard sooner, Alaphilippe will make his debut in the Giro

Quick Step finalizes ambitious plans: Evenepoel will Face Roglic and Vingegaard sooner, Alaphilippe will make his debut in the Giro

Soudal-Quick Step has finalized their plans for 2024. The focus on Tuesday was naturally on Remco Evenepoel, but new arrival Mikel Landa and key players Kasper Asgreen, Julian Alaphilippe, and Ilan Van Wilder also know their schedules. Here's an overview:

Remco Evenepoel

Evenepoel will start on February 10 at the Figueira Champions Classic, followed by the Tour of Algarve in Portugal (February 14-18). A few weeks later, he will face an early duel with Primoz Roglic (BORA-hansgrohe) in Paris-Nice (March 3-10). In early April, he will not only meet the Slovenian but also his second major Tour rival Jonas Vingegaard in the Tour of the Basque Country (April 1-6).

The former Vuelta winner will also participate in all the Ardennes classics, debuting in the Amstel Gold Race and defending his title in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The dress rehearsal at the Critérium du Dauphiné (June 2-9) will be a major test against Vingegaard and Roglic. Tadej Pogacar seems to be his only opponent in La Doyenne due to the Slovenian's plans for the Giro, before the Tour. The Belgian will not go to the Vuelta, but will compete in both the time trial and the road race at the Olympics. Whether Evenepoel will also appear at the World Championships in Zurich (September 29) and the Tour of Lombardy (October 12) is not yet known.

Mikel Landa

In the pursuit of a podium finish in the Tour, Evenepoel, as expected, will have Landa as his super domestique, while the 34-year-old Spaniard will have his own chance to lead in the Vuelta. "I can't wait to get started in a few weeks. I have a lot of experience and hope to share that with the young riders here. In the grand tours, I want to use that experience to help Remco, because I truly believe I can contribute to his success. In the Vuelta, I hope to do well, where I'll have my own chance," Landa said in a press release.

In an interview with Marca, the Spaniard reveals that he will start with Evenepoel in the Algarve. After that, he will chase his own chances in the Tour of Catalonia and the Tour of the Basque Country. In the Ardennes, he will be reunited with his Belgian leader before they both compete in the Dauphiné and the Tour de France. For Landa, the Vuelta awaits afterwards, followed by the World Championships.

Julian Alaphilippe

The biggest surprise at Soudal-Quick Step is perhaps the Giro d'Italia debut of Alaphilippe. The Frenchman has done the Tour six times in the last seven years and has participated twice in the Vuelta. In 2024, he will start as the leader in the Tour Down Under and then kick off the Flemish spring early, with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. His main goal in the classics: the Tour of Flanders, though he will also compete in Strade Bianche and Milan-San Remo. On the Flemish cobbled hills, he will be supported by new recruit Gianni Moscon, Yves Lampaert, and Kasper Asgreen.

The Tour de France is not on his schedule in 2024, and in an interview with L'Equipe, Alaphilippe indicates that this is not a problem for him. "The Giro has been on my mind for a while, and this winter we said: why not this season? I wanted something different, so I'm doing the Tour Down Under, the Flemish classics, and the Giro. This idea came from myself and Patrick Lefevere immediately indicated that he didn't need me in the Tour. It's not my role to support Evenepoel. In the Giro, I'll have a freedom I wouldn't have had in the Tour; it will be a discovery. I am happy with my objectives, also keeping the Olympic Games in Paris in mind."

Kasper Asgreen and Ilan Van Wilder

In the shadow of Evenepoel, Landa, and Alaphilippe, there are more men eager to start 2024. Asgreen and Van Wilder are also leaders, in their own way. Asgreen will begin his season at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, starting quite late. After that, he has Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and Strade Bianche on his schedule. The Dane is also expected to be a prominent figure in the Flemish spring classics.

Van Wilder, like Landa, will ride in support of Evenepoel in the Tour, but the 23-year-old Belgian will also have more opportunities to ride for his own account in 2024, starting with the UAE Tour. He will also be the protected leader in Catalonia and the Tour of Romandy. He will participate in Paris-Nice alongside Evenepoel, and hopefully in the Tour as well. "That's not certain yet. I'm in the large pre-selection. Let's hope so. There are many strong guys. I really see a strong team for the grand tours," the climber told Sporza.

And what about Tim Merlier? The only remaining top sprinter after the departure of Fabio Jakobsen had to swallow a bitter pill and will not go to the Tour. His exact program for the rest of the season is not yet known.

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