Jasper Philipsen happy with Mathieu van der Poel's partnership at 2024 Tour de France - "Seeing how successful it was last year, we can really use him again"

Jasper Philipsen is set to lead Alpecin-Deceuninck at the Baloise Belgium Tour which starts this Wednesday and then again at the Tour de France. In the latter, he will be able to count on the support of Mathieu van der Poel once again, a partnership that worked to perfection in the sprints of the 2023 Tour.

"We actually adopted a somewhat similar approach as last year. I first spent time in Tenerife, completing the necessary altitude training, and then we went to La Plagne for a high-altitude camp with the team," Philipsen said in a press conference, with words collected by In de Leiderstrui. "From there, we basically came straight here, so we haven't been idle. Towards the Tour, we have been working on reaching peak condition."

Philipsen has been out of competition since Paris-Roubaix, two months out of competition after a spring where he won his first monument at Milano-Sanremo. He has the Tour in mind now as the next goal: "I haven't thought about whether I will ride all the way to Nice if I'm not in green, so that will have to be decided at the moment itself. I think some sprinters will choose not to finish, focusing instead on events like the Olympics."

Philipsen will be racing the Paris event for the Belgian national team which is set to have several leaders. After winning Sanremo and finishing twice second at Paris-Roubaix, he has proven himself as a rider capable of tackling the long-distance races with a few difficulties. The course in Paris is perhaps too hard for him, but he will certainly be a card. His summer schedule begins at the five-day Baloise Belgium Tour where he is expected to take a win once again.

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"I always need that race rhythm anyway. It's good to race again for five days now, aiming for victory and building up those automatic movements. Last year, Mathieu [van der Poel] was there, which was of course nice for both of us," he continued. "And also for me, with the sprints. This year, we have to compensate for that with some guys who are going to the Tour and some who aren't. Anyway, it's good to be racing again."

"You always aim as high as possible, but we're starting with maybe one win. Anyway, it's good to get a reference of where you stand. You know part of it from training, but I haven't raced for a long time," the Belgian admits. "That race rhythm is a bit lost after two months without racing. This is a preparation race, but I always try to compete to win. I'm excited to go full throttle for five days, so then it's about seeing how far I can go in the standings. But that's without any expectations."

Philipsen will be having a more modest leadout in this race but in July he will count with Mathieu van der Poel's support. Last year, besides the points classification, Philipsen won four stages (and would've likely won more if the breakaway hadn't experienced such success in the second half of the race).

"We did some sprint training. It went well, so I don't think there are any surprises. A bigger surprise for me was that Mathieu's schedule is also focused on the Tour this year, so I was very happy about that," Philipsen admits. "Seeing how successful it was last year, we can really use him again."

"The course didn't seem too bad to me; it could be something where I can do well," he said of the Olympic Games. "I hope to be there, but that also applies to the European Championships in Hasselt."

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