"Julian hasn't drunk since November 2022"; Lefevere somewhat backtracks after controversy surrounding Alaphilippe/Rousse Cycling

"Julian hasn't drunk since November 2022"; Lefevere somewhat backtracks after controversy surrounding Alaphilippe/Rousse

"Julian hasn't drunk since November 2022"; Lefevere somewhat backtracks after controversy surrounding Alaphilippe/Rousse

Patrick Lefevere elaborated on Julian Alaphilippe's declining performance over the past two years, doing so unequivocally. As the Belgian team boss of Soudal Quick-Step, he pointed to alcohol consumption, partying, and the influence of Alaphilippe's girlfriend, Marion Rousse. A response to his comments was not long in coming.

Lefevere had previously shared his thoughts on why his protege hadn't been performing as well. Alaphilippe had achieved significantly less success in the past two seasons compared to previous years, despite being known as a two-time world champion and a rider who regularly secured victories in major classics and Tour de France stages. The years 2022 and 2023 marked a departure from this successful period.

Lefevere remarked, "Julian is a good guy, but since he signed that mega-contract, he hasn't performed at all," he stated in an interview with the magazine Humo. "I like my riders to enjoy themselves, but it needs to be within reason. As you get older, you need to take better care of yourself. You can't just give up." According to his team leader, this is precisely what Alaphilippe has done. "He needs to make a change now and start fighting for it."

Lefevere is clear about where he believes the root causes of Alaphilippe's decline in performance lie. "Alcohol consumption, excessive partying. Julian is really under the thumb of Marion, perhaps too much. He's a young man full of energy, and sometimes you need to give him some leeway. But there needs to be a line drawn. He can still be a bit of a troublemaker. In November, I told him in front of his wife and manager: "This can't continue. If you mess up again, I'll fire you on the spot." And that message seems to have struck a chord because he's making progress."

alaphilippe rousse

At Het Nieuwsblad Lefevere later partially retracted his words after the backlash - as seen below. "I'm considering making a statement on Twitter because, once again, my words in English - without the context of the interview - sound more severe than I intended in Dutch. What did I say? José De Cauwer can attest: not last year, but in November 2022, I took Julian Alaphilippe aside in Diegem. I told him: 'This can't continue. Either I let you go, or we change our approach from now on.' My message was: 'Talent alone won't suffice anymore. As you grow older, you need to start living differently.' Julian put up impressive numbers at the Tour, but back then, there weren't as many prominent classics contenders like Mathieu Van der Poel, Tadej Pogacar, and Primoz Roglic that he's competing against now."

So, where did those remarks about alcohol come from? "There was a period with too many parties, but I must clarify: since our conversation in November 2022, he hasn't consumed alcohol. Not within the team or outside of it. I've spoken to people who were with him during the Sierra Nevada stage: not a drop. And training has never been an issue," Lefevere concludes.

Rousse, Alaphilippe's wife, responds: "Unacceptable"

The response from the Alaphilippe camp came swiftly. Marion Rousse, the Frenchman's wife, shared the following on X . "Regardless of Mr. Lefevere's sentiments towards me, it is unacceptable to attack our private lives as he has done. So, no, I do not drink alcohol. With a three-year-old child, we prefer to spend early mornings on vacation :)" she states.

"It's not going to work for you either, as you suggested to me, to pressure me into quitting my job and staying close to Julian during his career," said Rousse, who is also a commentator at Eurosport France and the race director of the Tour de France Femmes, thus highly active in the cycling world. "The work I do keeps me occupied. I want to make it clear: under no circumstances will I allow you to discuss my private life. Please refrain from speaking carelessly and show more respect and class," concluded the Frenchwoman.

Place comments



More comments

You are currently seeing only the comments you are notified about, if you want to see all comments from this post, click the button below.

Show all comments

More Cycling News