The race around the south of France will feature a demanding parcours, with the trip up Chalet-Reynard – just a few kilometers from the top of the Mont Ventoux – being the highlight of this sixth edition.
It will be Alaphilippe’s first appearance at La Provence since 2016, the year of the inaugural edition. The rainbow jersey holder – who is using the race as an early hitout before the cobbled classics - is looking forward to racing in front of his countrymen and showing the world champion's jersey he captured in Italy.
It will be the Frenchman's first race since crashing into a moto in dramatic circumstances at the Tour of Flanders while in the winning move with Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert.
“Winning in Imola was the best moment of last year for me and getting to wear the rainbow jersey for twelve months gives me huge pride," said Alaphilippe. "I can’t wait to show it in as many races as possible this season. I’m still recovering after my injury at last November’s Ronde van Vlaanderen, but I have made some important steps since then and I am confident it will be better in the coming weeks.”
“I am excited about racing for the first time this season in France, it should be a nice experience. I took part in the Tour de la Provence a few years ago and I am glad to be back. I like the parcours, but I will go there without any specific goals."
It's rare that Alaphilippe is too far off the best riders, even in the early season, but the flamboyant climber was not promising fireworks just yet, but instead Provence shapes as an important stepping stone.
"The most important thing will be to rebuild the shape, and hopefully, Provence will help me do just that before my spring appointments, when I’ll be aiming for some strong results.”