Tour de France: Remco Evenepoel and Jasper Philipsen ready to make their mark

The 22 teams taking part in the Tour de France have selected 28 Belgian cyclists, the largest delegation since 1990. Of these Belgians, Remco Evenepoel and Jasper Philipsen stand out as the best candidates to make their mark on the prestigious competition.

Evenepoel will undoubtedly be the man to watch this summer. The 24-year-old will be making his long-awaited Tour de France debut and has set his sights on the general classification. Evenepoel proved his ability to compete in a grand tour in 2022 when he won the Vuelta a España.

How far he can go remains to be seen. He was forced to scrap his Giro d'Italia plans after breaking his collarbone at the Tour of the Basque Country in April. Although he has recovered, he was forced to pull out of the Belgian national championships last weekend due to illness.

But he remains ambitious. With Giro d'Italia winner Tadej Pogacar looking untouchable this season, Evenepoel is targeting a top-five finish in his debut year. "A top five in Nice [where the Tour of France finishes this year] would be great," Evenepoel told Het Laatste Nieuws. "I could build on that in the future."

Chasing Eddy Merckx

While Evenepoel will be targeting the yellow jersey, Philipsen has his sights set on the green jersey. The sprinter dominated last year's Tour de France, winning four sprint stages and the sprinter's classification by over 100 points. He could become the first Belgian to win two consecutive green jerseys since Eddy Merckx in 1972.

His team, Alpecin-Deceuninck, is betting everything on the points classification this year. The team has not even selected a rider for the general classification, saying they are only aiming for stage wins and, if possible, another green jersey for Philipsen.

Philipsen's preparation was not perfect, as he lost the sprint for the Belgian national championship to Arnaud De Lie on Sunday. But that has not caused him any concern. "We'll have to analyse it, but I'm not worried or anything," Philipsen said after the race. "I'm going into the Tour with a good feeling."

The Tour de France starts on 29 June in Florence, Italy, and ends on 21 July in Nice, France.


#FlandersNewsService | © PHOTO THOMAS SAMSON / AFP

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