"It remains a vexing issue, especially when everyone is healthy" - Alpecin-Deceuninck unsure who will join Philipsen and Van der Poel at Tour de France

The 2024 Tour de France is now just a matter of weeks away. Alpecin-Deceuninck are likely to be one of the protagonists at the upcoming Grand Tour with superstar duo Jasper Philipsen and Mathieu van der Poel. Who will join them remains unclear however.

"We mainly want to score in the Tour, which is why our leaders have not raced in recent weeks," Alpecin-Deceuninck boss Christoph Roodhooft explains in conversation with Het Nieuwsblad, revealing he selection pool has been narrowed down. "The choice will be made based on what type of rider we will need. That is a purely rational consideration."

At their recent pre-Tour de France training camp at altitude in La Plagne, there were nine riders involved, including the likes of van der Poel and Philipsen. "One more dropout is needed and they all know that. We have also taken a risk by only going with nine riders at altitude," Roodhooft says of the current situation. "That way we will only have to disappoint one rider later on.''

"It remains a vexing issue, especially when everyone is healthy. But I repeat, it will mostly be a rational decision. I saw a good group in La Plagne. The atmosphere was good, the weather was unfortunately not always top notch. But we were able to do pretty much everything we wanted to do," Roodhooft continues. "Now follows a third and long block with Tour, Olympics and the World Championships in Zurich where he wants to defend his title. Whoever is still fresh and motivated then has the best chance of success, in our opinion."

Gianni Vermeersch did his Tour de France prospects no harm on Saturday, taking victory at Dwars door het Hageland, and in his post-race interview, was very open in his desire to make the Grand Tour lineup. "Does this mean I secure my Tour selection? I do not know. I have proven that the condition is good, but to prove yourself here for the Tour selection… I don't know if this is enough. We'll see. Next week the Tour of Belgium will also be important,” he assessed. "I have already proven that I can help Mathieu van der Poel a little. And at the beginning of the sprint train I can also do my thing every now and then. But of course it is up to the team to plan that.”

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