Julian Alaphilippe returns to competition this Thursday at the Course du Raisin (192 km, 20 hills), in Overijse, Belgium. The world champion had planned to make his comeback on Sunday at the Bretagne Classic, in Plouay. However, several difficulties of the Brabant event which he will find again in a month, to the day, on that of the World Championship in Leuven, prompted the defending champion to add this race to his program.
At Deceuninck-Quick Step, Alaphilippe will be associated with the winner of the Tour of Flanders, Kasper Asgreen. And to Remco Evenepoel with whom he has not raced since January 2020 (Tour de San Juan, Argentina), in particular due to the long convalescence of the Belgian rider, injured at the Tour of Lombardy a year ago, and absent from the platoons for nine months.
At the Raisin Race, Alaphilippe starts a second cycle of preparation for the World Cup (September 26) which includes a stage race, the Tour of Great Britain (September 5-12). The first phase consisted of three weeks of training at home in Andorra after the Clasica San Sebastian (6th). Its condition is good, but not optimal. He needs to run to improve it.
The traditional Course du Raisin (61st edition) is smaller. With the exception of a few sizes (Ewan, Gilbert, Wellens, Gaviria, Hirschi, Laporte or Bonifazio), plus the trio of Deceuninck, the rest of the field is weak. But the test of the course is well worth the trip.