Alpecin-Fenix bring Van der Poel, Merlier and Philipsen at the Tour

Alpecin-Fenix ​​has announced its 8 riders for their first Tour de France participation. Tim Merlier and Mathieu van der Poel spearhead the Dutch team. 

This will be their first Tour de France for both Merlier and Van der Poel. Merlier already made his debut in a grand tour this year, in the Giro d’Italia where he was immediately successful by winning the second stage.

The 28-year-old Belgian is going through a strong season, in which he already took six victories. In addition to the Giro stage, he was also won in Le Samyn, Grand Prix Monseré, the Bredene Koksijde Classic, the Ronde van Limburg and the Elfstedenronde.

For Van der Poel it will be his first three-week race. It should take some time for the fans to get used to to see him in the dark blue jersey of Alpecin-Fenix, after he lost his national champion jersey to Timo Roosen during the Dutch Championships on the VAM mountain last weekend. The winner of Strade Bianche and two stages in the Tour de Suisse is an important favorite for the punchy arrivals in the first week.

Van der Poel said: “I know it is difficult to go from the Tour to the Olympics, but I understand the interests of the team and its sponsors very well. In addition, I also really like the Tour. It is one of the largest sporting events in the world. The mountain bike race at the Olympics still remains my priority. Of course it is not ideal to switch so much between the road bicycle and the mountain bike, but that is no different because of corona.”

Philipsen had to let the Belgian Championship pass by last weekend due to a knee injury, which he sustained during a fall in the Belgium Tour. However, the 23-year-old Belgian has recovered sufficiently to be at the start of the Tour on Saturday, his third grand tour. Philipsen already won the Scheldeprijs and two stages in the Tour of Turkey this year, in addition to a handful of places of honor in Paris-Nice, Brugge-De Panne and the Belgium Tour.

In addition to Merlier and Van der Poel, Jonas Rickaert and Kristian Sbaragli are also making their Tour debut, while Silvan Dillier, Xandro Meurisse and Petr Vakoc will complete th 8-men squad.


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