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Philipsen, still the fastest man


The fact that he had not yet sprinted this year had perhaps caused many to forget how strong Jasper Philipsen actually is. Last year he had sprinted no fewer than 19 times, more than anyone else in the world, clearly demonstrating that he is the top sprinter in the peloton.

Tim Merlier (Soudal-QuickStep), however, seemed perfectly capable of challenging this status thanks to a sparkling start to the season, capped by two victories at the AlUla Tour and three at the UAE Tour, defeating all the top sprinters. All, except one: Philipsen. In the second stage of Tirreno-Adriatico 2024, the strong Soudal-QuickStep rider was annihilated by the powerful sprint of his countryman in the jeans-style jersey of Alpecin-Deceuninck.

Just as he did last year, Philipsen opens his season account at Race of the Two Seas, and if the rest of the year is anything like 2023, then the other sprinters had better start attending those races that Philipsen decides to skip. It’s worth remembering that, after his two stage wins at Tirreno, last year he scored at Brugge-DePanne, Scheldeprijs and took home four stages at the Tour de France along with the green jersey, as well as an impressive second place at Paris-Roubaix behind team-mate Mathieu Van der Poel.

“This winter I didn’t do any special training for sprints, because I know that’s where I’m strong, but I concentrated more on training for the classics”. With these words Jasper confirmed what had already been guessed last year: he is not content with being a simple sprinter, he is aiming to be a more complete rider. Should he manage to do it as well as he sprints, well, that would be trouble for many. In the meantime, he has three more chances to update his score in this Tirreno-Adriatico.

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