Alaphilippe: To win the polka-dot jersey would be a bonus

Frenchman leads mountains competition but is looking for second stage win

Julian Alaphilippe says that winning the polka-dot jersey would be an added bonus for him having already won his first Tour de France stage earlier in the race. The Quick-Step Floors rider remains cautious, and says he's taking each day as it comes.

"My first goal was to try to win a stage," Alaphilippe said. "I achieved that [on stage 10], and now I also have the King of the Mountains jersey, so it's a bonus for me.

"I'm going to try to keep hold of it, of course, but it's going to be difficult," he continued. "Paris is still a long way off, so I'm just taking it day-by-day. We've still got a really hard week ahead in the Pyrenees."

Should he win the title, it would be Quick-Step Floors' first Tour jersey in 11 years, with Tom Boonen having claimed the green jersey in 2007.

Alaphilippe would also be the second consecutive Frenchman to win the mountains competition after Warren Barguil (Fortuneo-Samsic) took it last year. As it stands, Alaphilippe has just a 22 point-lead over the defending champion, and the Quick-Step rider isn't expecting an easy ride in the polka-dots to Paris.

"It'll be a big fight, I'm sure," said 26-year-old Alaphilippe. "Barguil wants the jersey, and I currently have it on my shoulders. I'll try to fight for the points in order to hang on to it, but we'll see what happens.

"He'll try to attack, but if I have good legs and can keep fighting for the jersey, I will. But I'm already very happy with my stage victory. Having the legs is the hardest thing, as you have to always be up at the front. It's not easy because this jersey was never my first goal, but I'll continue to enjoy wearing it for as long as I can."

Alaphilippe currently sits on 92 points at the top the mountains classification, compared to Barguil's 70 points, with Sky's Geraint Thomas in third place with 30 points.

But with a maximum of 126 points still available in the competition, there's still everything to play for, with the biggest haul of points available on stage 19 from Lourdes to Laruns on Friday, when there are a maximum of 57 points on the table.

The polka-dot jersey might be a nice bonus, but Alaphilippe's next target is to win another stage to add to his victory in Le Grand-Bornand, although his search for that second win may also beget success in the mountains competition.

Alaphilippe says that he has his sights set on a particular day, but won't elaborate further.

"There's a stage that I like the profile of," he said, "but it depends on the legs. We'll see."

 

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