BRUSSELS. Two-time world champion Julian Alaphilippe and first-class sprinter Mark Cavendish will not start when the Tour de France kicks off in Copenhagen on Friday.

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Alaphilippe hasn’t recovered enough in two months after a horrific crash at the Liège-Bastogne-Liège circuit, his Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team said on Monday as they unveiled their eight-member roster for the biggest cycling race ever.

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Cavendish, who drives for the same team and equaled Eddy Merckx’s all-time record of 34 Tour stage wins last year, was also not among the winners. He was named first reserve driver despite winning the UK national title over the weekend.

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“As for our reservists, we have to highlight that they have shown great professionalism, kept training and staying focused in the last couple of weeks,” said Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Athletic Director Tom Steels.

The Belgian team will be led by another sprinter, Fabio Jacobsen, who has won 10 wins this season.

Alaphilippe only resumed racing last weekend at the French national championship.

He was forced to retire from the Belgian classic in April after he was involved in a massive crash and crashed into a tree at high speed. Alaphilippe broke his shoulder blade and two ribs, he has a collapsed lung.

“Missing another opportunity to wear my beautiful rainbow jersey in my home country is very sad for me and I knew this decision would be difficult for the team,” Alaphilippe said. “At the same time, I understand this very well, because I also don’t want to be at the start if I can’t be at my best level.”

Thanks to his unpredictable tactics and appetite for spectacular attacks, Alaphilippe is a fan favorite. He has won Tour stages in the last four editions and has worn the yellow jersey for 14 days in 2019.

Stills said the decision to keep Alaphilippe at home was “very difficult as he is one of the team’s most emblematic riders and we wrote so many great moments on the Tour together.
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