Giro | Julian Alaphilippe: “I have found a level that allows me to have fun”

For Julian Alaphilippe, it is time to take stock. The double world champion of the Soudal Quick-Step does not play the general classification, he is not a climber and even less a sprinter. However, you will have to be in one of these three categories to influence the race between now and Sunday and the triumphant arrival in Rome. In the Eternal City, the Frenchman will have time to assess his performance. No one ever believed it to last forever, but some thought it was over. What Alaphilippe is not, proof to support it in Italy.

Gilbert: “In Alaphilippe’s place, I would refuse to go to the Tour de France”

Without his superb stage victory in Fano, which will remain a place apart in his career, the Frenchman’s Giro could have resembled his last Tour de France. Six, seven, eight times, Alaphilippe had gone to the front, not counting his efforts, as if to prove to himself that he still had something under the hood. The result was a bitter taste, the feeling that the head wanted to but the legs couldn’t, or no longer could.

Here again in the final of the big stages

There was a systematic lack of fuel in the engine in the last hour of the race, which makes the difference and which, on the Tour even more than elsewhere, allows us to sort things out. Alaphilippe was no longer in the caste even though he had made his squirt in hot moments a lethal weapon to offer himself three years in a row (2019, 2020 and 2021), the stage which was to offer him the jersey yellow at the start of the Grande Boucle.

It was because the Frenchman no longer had time to train. Too many falls, too many struggles have spoiled 2022 but also 2023. And, as he said on the microphone of Eurosport on the evening of a 19th stage of the Giro which he hosted again this Friday in the rain in the north of Italy, “the work paid off“. For three weeks, Alaphilippe has found legs that allow him to hurt. He hasn’t always bottomed out (once a winner and once 2nd) but he was able to have fun, and something tells us that ‘he hadn’t experienced this feeling over such a long period of time in a long time.

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He never stops: Alaphilippe attacks 125 km from the finish

I feel like I gave everythinghe analyzed for Eurosport after his 9th place this Friday. I can’t have regrets. I was full of it, it was a hard day.” His attack 125 kilometers from the goal then his work at the foot of Passo Duron seriously skimmed the potential winners. Not enough since he found in Andrea Vendrame (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale), a tactical master.

No, the Alaphilippe of 2019 is not back

I think my escape companions were more concerned about me than about Vendrame in front, he smiled. Unfortunately for them, this was not the right tactic. I’m happy for him, he did the right thing. For me, it would have been difficult to win. My legs still hurt a lot, I have no regrets.” If Alaphilippe scares his opponents again, it is perhaps because he has once again become a beautiful version of himself. The best of all time perhaps not, the best in a long time, certainly.

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At the foot of Passo Duron, Alaphilippe launches a merciless skimming

I found my level again, finally a level which allows me to have fun and to have been able to achieve a great victoryhe rightly confides. The work paid off and above all I had fun. It’s the most important, it feels good.” And that opens up great prospects for the future, one might add. No, the Alaphilippe of 2019 is not back and he will, a priori, never be able to compete on the pedals against the current monsters that are Mathieu Van der Poel or Tadej Pogacar And so? Having put the 2022-2023 Alaphilippe behind him is already a hell of a victory.

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