Alaphilippe: There's an enormous difference between finishing 5th at the Tour de France and winning it

Julian Alaphilippe and Thibaut Pinot
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

It takes a rare rider to win Milan-San Remo and Flèche Wallonne in the same spring and then produce a break-out top-five finish at the Tour de France that very summer, and Julian Alaphilippe, it seems, has drawn some lessons from the experiences of the last man to do so.

When Laurent Jalabert enjoyed his year of years in 1995, he spent much of the following winter being heralded as the rider most likely to end the host nation's then decade-long run of hurt at the Tour. Race director Jean-Marie LeBlanc had designed a route seemingly expressly tailored to his talents, and after Jalabert won the Classique des Alpes, Route du Sud and Midi Libre in the build-up to La Grande Boucle, home expectation went into overdrive. 'Laurent, c'est ton Tour!' read the famous headline in Vélo Magazine's preview issue that June.

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Barry Ryan
Head of Features

Barry Ryan is Head of Features at Cyclingnews. He has covered professional cycling since 2010, reporting from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and events from Argentina to Japan. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Procycling and Cycling Plus. He is the author of The Ascent: Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation, published by Gill Books.