Julian Alaphilippe still doesn’t know the Poggio descent in Milan-San Remo

Julian Alaphilippe has already stood at all places on the podium of Milan-San Remo. Two years ago he triumphed on the Via Roma in the center of San Remo, while last year in the summer edition of the spring classic in the same shopping street he narrowly had to let Wout van Aert lead the sprint. In 2017, the Frenchman finished third in the beautiful sprint with Michal Kwiatkowski and Peter Sagan. Whether he already benefits from that experience? Alaphilippe doubts it.“To be honest, I really couldn’t tell you exactly how the descent of the Poggio is going,” says the leader of Deceuninck-QuickStep. “Every time I dive into that descent, I drive en bloc and only the assignment to drive down as fast as possible counts. I am really at my limits and I am completely in the red. If I think carefully, I can now see the first two turns in front of me, but what comes next is a big question mark. In that respect, I will close my eyes again on Saturday past the top of the Poggio to drive as fast as possible to San Remo. ”

Top three
Alaphilippe can also hardly indicate why this race apparently suits him so well, because three top three rankings in the last four editions is a fantastic result. “I started in Milan for the first time in 2017. I had no idea what to expect from that match. How does your body react after almost three hundred kilometers. The Poggio is not a difficult climb in itself, but with all those competition kilometers in its legs, it suddenly weighs very differently. Then it’s a climb where punchers like me can make a difference. I am very happy with my three podium places in this Monument. But those places are really only beautiful because I also once stood on the highest step. ”

The competition is currently pointing to the three super favorites. Mathieu van der Poel, Wout van Aert and Julian Alaphilippe are targeted by everyone. “I do think many are watching us. Mathieu and Wout have proven to be in top form in the Tirreno-Adriatico. The Tirreno was a very tough race for seven days and I am happy that I was able to complete this race. I had a good week and I am very satisfied that I was able to win a stage in this violence. That was not easy. Since the closing time trial I am mainly working on recovering from these hard efforts to be completely fit on Saturday. ”

Alaphilippe initially gave an immediate answer to a question, to later on tactically water down that answer a bit. What would the world champion do when Mathieu van der Poel is already on the attack on the Cipressa. “When I have the legs, I jump with him”, said ‘JuJu’ immediately.

To then correct himself somewhat. “Of course it depends on my legs. And we only have the tactical meeting with the team management and all riders on Friday afternoon. One of the strengths of our team is that we can play more cards. Sam Bennett has won two stages in both Paris-Nice and the UAE Tour and is therefore in top form. We also have Davide Ballerini who has proven with his victory in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad that he still has a strong sprint in his legs after a tough race. Strength in width is always one of our weapons. We will certainly not fully coordinate our course with the teams of Van der Poel and Van Aert. We will take our own responsibility. We will only really forge the plan on the eve of the match. ”

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