To find out more about Julian Alaphilippe, ask his cousin and coach Franck, who has been following him since his debut at Montluçon, in Allier. He had checked the stage of Epernay on the road book of Julian, who had carefully recognized the course during its preparation.
It is therefore to Franck Alaphilippe that we ask the question of the continuation in the high mountain, where is played the Tour de France, and whose peloton will have a foretaste as of Thursday, July 11, in the famous of the Plate Beautiful girls. If one believes his cousin, keep the yellow on the peaks is not planned in the program. "Julian is a good climber, he proved it by winning two difficult stages a year ago. But there will always be a mountain stage where he will get stuck. It lacks this constancy in the effort in the long term, the sequence of the passes »he says.
Cycling goes upmarket
"It would be totally to the detriment of my basic qualities that allow me to win races on a day", analyzed before the Tour de France the future yellow jersey before the start of the Tour. "I do not want to disperse, I'm 27 years old, I'm in the middle of it all". But he left a small opening … in the long run: "If I decide to invest myself in the overall classification, it will be at the expense of all that and I do not feel like it today". The appetite for the yellow jersey, as we all know, often comes with eating, which Franck Alaphilippe does not deny: "He may change his mind sooner than we think. "
A 800m runner, not a marathon runner
There remains the intrinsic form and abilities of the runner. Julian Alaphilippe did not focus his preparation on long courses at altitude, but rather on fast and brutal raids, which allowed him to remove two mountain stages at the 2018 Tour – one in the Alps, the another in the Pyrenees – then bring back to Paris the jersey of best climber. The world number 1, inducted into this rank in March after his victory in Milan San Remo is rather a puncher, like the Slovak Peter Sagan, the Belgian Philippe Gilbert or the Spaniard Alejandro Valverde, more tailored to the rainbow jersey of world champion in a rough course, only for the yellow of the Tour de France.
INFOGRAPHIE – The map of the Tour de France 2019, step by step
These punchers are comparable to runners 400 or 800 meters in athletics, able to withstand without suffering the brutal access of lactic acid in the muscles, caused by a violent effort. The men in yellow are more than 5000-10 000 m runners, excelling also in the very particular time trial, where the best are decided for the final victory in the big rounds. Julian Alaphilippe has never shown much in the lonely fight against the chronometer, an enemy that does not suit him.
His team is not interested in grand tours
Potential winners of great tours are always accompanied by an armada of team members responsible for protecting them in the high mountains and fetching escaped people posing a threat to the overall classification. Alaphilippe has a very effective team in the plain or on the rugged routes, but not in the passes.
Quick Step is a Belgian training group oriented towards the traditional "classics" of which Belgium abounds and pays little attention to the general rankings of the three-week races. Moreover, she ranked only two of her men in the Top 5 of a grand tour in her history: Rigoberto Uran on the Giro 2014 and Enric Mas, on the Vuelta 2019. A fair bit, probably , to dream of yellow on the biggest race in the world.