Julian Alaphilippe will have to forgo his aim of competing at the Tour de France after undergoing knee surgery in Belgium today. The 24-year-old Frenchman will be off the bike for two weeks, and has had to set his focus on the second half of the season.
Alaphilippe had a strong start to the season, taking the best young rider's classification in the Abu Dhabi Tour, winning a stage and the points classification in Paris-Nice, and coming third in Milan-San Remo. But a crash in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco led to nagging knee pain that kept him from the Ardennes Classics, and from defending his title in the upcoming Amgen Tour of California.
The Quick-Step Floors team said 'conservative treatment' did not alleviate the issue and the team's medical staff decided surgery was necessary. It was performed by Dr. Toon Claes at the AZ St.-Elisabeth Clinic in Herentals today.
"I can't tell you how sad I am, there's really no words," Alaphilippe said. "The Tour de France was my primary goal of the year, and to miss it, after previously being forced to skip the Ardennes Classic, it's very disappointing.
"Now my focus is on making a full recovery and arriving in a good condition for the second part of the year. Fortunately, the season is still long and I hope to bounce back."