June issue of Procycling is out now

Featuring an exclusive interview with Julian Alaphilippe

This spring saw Julian Alaphilippe secure the breakthrough Classics victory he’s long been promising, scoring a major scalp over Alejandro Valverde on the Mur de Huy to end the Spaniard’s four-year winning streak at Flèche Wallonne.

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Procycling sat down with the energetic Frenchman, and our new cover star, days after his victory to talk about his path to the top. Along the way, the Quick-Step Floors rider enjoyed a stint working as a mechanic, a year plying his trade with an amateur squad run by the French army and has a penchant for playing the drums.

“It’s taken me time to realise I have to stay calm, and that’s helped me get better,” Alaphilippe told us. “But I’ve also learned that staying calm for too long costs me more energy than it would do if I was just letting off steam.”

From one Frenchman on a high to another who has endured a difficult 2018, Nacer Bouhanni tends to generate as many headlines for his off-the-bike behaviour as he does for his wins. The hot-headed sprinter has been in the spotlight again this year, as he’s struggled for form and abandoned four races this spring, while there are murmurings of clashes between him and those inside the Cofidis team. Daniel Friebe looks back over Bouhanni’s career to try and untangle his enigma.

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The Giro d’Italia may be entering its final week, but before the Giro got underway many of the race favourites were at the Tour of the Alps, a race that meanders the Austrian and Italian mountain range making it undoubtedly one of the most picturesque races on the calendar. Procycling and photographer Joseph Branston were there to witness the action, and capture the breath-taking scenery.

Amstel Gold Race serves as the gateway to the Ardennes Classics. Held a week after Paris-Roubaix and a week before Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the only one-day WorldTour race in the Netherlands draws in rouleurs and climbers alike. Richard Abraham and Simon Gill travelled to Maastricht to uncover its secrets for our latest Race Culture feature.

Hannah Barnes has her sights set on another strong performance at the Women’s Tour when it gets underway next month. The Briton’s third place overall last year was one of a string of performances that made 2017 one of her best seasons to date. Procycling caught up with the 24-year-old this spring, to talk about growing up racing, life in Girona and how she’s evolved as a rider.

Winning might be an everyday occurrence in cycling, but for the majority of riders in the WorldTour getting a victory is a rare feat, to the point most will go through the season without experiencing it. We crunched the numbers, and spoke to those inside the peloton, to find out just why winning a race is so hard.

They might have been new to the Pro Continental scene in 2018, but that hasn’t held American squad Rally Cycling back from throwing themselves into races against bigger or more experienced teams this spring. Led by Canadian Eric Wohlberg, he spoke to Jeremy Whittle about the team’s philosophy and why they’re aiming for bigger and better things in the future.

In this month’s Retro feature, William Fotheringham tracks down the last Belgian rider to win the Tour de France, Lucien Van Impe. As well as winning the yellow jersey in 1976, the now 71-year-old won six polka dot jerseys during his career, making him one of the most successful climbers in the race’s history. “You have the good young riders, but the priority isn’t the Tour; they all want to win the Tour of Flanders, Gent-Wevelgem, Paris-Roubaix, and no one will take them to one side and have the courage to turn them into a Tour de France winner,” he said, on why no Belgian has won the race since.

Plus, all the analysis from the last month of racing, the latest products in cycling and an update from our diarists; Dan Martin, Dylan Teuns, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig and Steve Cummings.

Procycling magazine: the best writing and photography from inside the world’s toughest sport. Pick up your copy in all good newsagents and supermarkets now, or pick up a Procycling subscription.

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