About time he has his own space now I think after showing that TDU was no fluke. He was probably the most impressive of the youngsters at Nokere ... always prominent and showing good pace in the disrupted finale. He probably left himself too much to do. Looking forward to seeing him at his first Primavera, where he's riding in support of Gaviria and learning the ropes.
Yeah, Boonen was better than Contador too... in cobbled races. I mean, are you seriously comparing these two? First of all, Philipsen is 2 years olde. Secondly, he was the leader at UAE yesterday, while Evenepoel had to work for his teammates, and had to bridge a gap to the first peloton on his own, after being held up in a crash. In the final 8k he had to close a few gaps in the back of the peloton. Thirdly, he is a classics type of rider, very much like Boonen was (they called him the new Boonen even two years ago, with Boonen posting a twitter of the two of them doing some training together with the message "the old one and the new one"). Evenepoel will very likely not participate in races such as these, in two or three years, while these are the races tailormade for Philipsen.
Which isn't to say i think Philipsen is a great talent. I think he will turn out to be a new-improved Jasper Stuyven. One that can actually finish it off, unlike Stuyven. His sprint on Nokere Berg was the fastest of the guys competing for the win, but he had to come from too far behind.
I know, no doubt about that either. I love Philipsen. Been on the bandwagon since he dominated a large portion of the spring classics as a junior with Acrog. He is showing signs of a slightly quicker, slightly worse climbing Van Avermaet. However, it's obvious why OP made that Evenepoel comment.
And why would his age prevent him from being there in the final anyway? He has been pretty impressive so far - I would be surprised if he doesn't survive the climbs. It's not exactly Alpe d'Huez. And I know it's a long race, but that doesn't make it hard.
Wow. That's some demand for a 20 year old. He was tweeting earlier in the week that he's basically there to learn and work for the team, but if he's still thereabouts at the top of the Poggio, I could see him getting involved with leading Kristoff and Gaviria out.
Philipsen will ride the Tour in support of Kristoff, since Gaviria isn't riding. If it turns out to be too much (since he already raced a lot this year) he relies on the team to make the right decision.