Interview | Alaphilippe is back and feeling great: "Last time I felt this way was a long time ago" Cycling

Interview | Alaphilippe is back and feeling great: "Last time I felt this way was a long time ago"

Interview | Alaphilippe is back and feeling great: "Last time I felt this way was a long time ago"

Julian Alaphilippe has had to endure and overcome a lot in recent seasons, but the Frenchman of Soudal-Quick Step is feeling great on the eve of the Critérium du Dauphiné. The 30-year-old powerhouse spoke with a small group of French journalists on Saturday afternoon but also made time for questions in English from

The last time we saw Alaphilippe in a race was at Liège-Bastogne-Liège on April 23 of this year. It was his final race after yet another chaotic spring campaign. He seemed to be in excellent form, with a victory in the Faun-Ardèche Classic and a second-place finish in a close uphill sprint against Primoz Roglic in the Tirreno-Adriatico. He appeared to be perfectly timed for his first main objectives in the Flemish classics, but he had to abandon the E3 Saxo Classic due to illness. Two weeks later, in the Tour of Flanders, he crashed and suffered a bursitis in his knee. In Liège-Bastogne-Liège, he gave it his all one last time for his good friend and teammate Remco Evenepoel before dropping off the radar.

"I took some rest after the first part of the season. I enjoyed being at home," Alaphilippe tells our website, when asked what he has been up to in the past six weeks. "Afterwards, I prepared for a high-altitude training camp in the Sierra Nevada. It was a good training camp, and we also did a reconnaissance of the opening weekend of the Tour de France in Bilbao, together with Rémi Cavagna." While in the Sierra Nevada, Alaphilippe and his teammates saw Evenepoel withdraw from the Giro d'Italia. "We watched the Giro during the training camp, and unfortunately, it was a tough Giro with the weather. It was difficult for us, with Remco and others falling ill. So, I'm not the only one who has had bad luck - it can happen to anyone."

Interview | Alaphilippe is back and feeling great: "Last time I felt this way was a long time ago"
Julian Alaphilippe, earlier this year in the Tirreno-Adriatico

Alaphilippe has certainly had his fair share. In 2021, he became the world champion for the second consecutive year, dominating everyone on the Flemish roads with a solo victory. He also won a stage in the Tour de France that year, wore the yellow jersey, and started 2022 on a good note with a stage win in the Basque Country. However, things took a turn for the worse in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, where Alaphilippe was heavily injured in a mass crash. He suffered a broken shoulder blade and only returned two months later at the French National Championship. Shortly after, he immediately won a stage in the Tour de Wallonie, but on day three, he contracted COVID-19. He used the Tour de l'Ain as preparation for the Vuelta a España, serving as a domestique for Evenepoel, only to have his plans disrupted by a crash in stage eleven of the Vuelta.

After a naturally disappointing autumn, Alaphilippe had a good winter and wanted to seek revenge for all the misfortune he had experienced. However, the cup of bitterness was not yet empty, and the desire to race again grew even stronger after a failed spring season and six weeks without races. "I'm looking forward to racing, I'm super motivated, and I feel good and free," says Alaphilippe, clearly beaming with confidence. "I'm thrilled to start in the Dauphiné on Sunday, and of course, I have ambitions. But above all, I want to enjoy it. A stage victory would be great, but we'll see what my form is like. The first goal is to race the way I want and love. I've missed it."

Listening to him, one can hear a man with determination ingrained in his very being. And everyone knows that as the Tour de France approaches, Alaphilippe should never be underestimated. He responds honestly to the observation that he seems to be mentally and physically in better spirits than in the past year and a half. "I feel good. The last time I felt this way was a long time ago," he says with a characteristic smile. "I'm happy about that, and I want to enjoy it. I hope to be back at my peak, and I hope that everything goes well in the upcoming period."

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