Julian Alaphilippe has confirmed he will again target the Ardennes Classics in 2019, adding Strade Bianche ands Milan-San Remo as possible early season goals.
The Frenchman will kick off his 2019 season in Argentina at the Vuelta a San Juan, staying in South America to ride the Colombia Oro y Paz stage race, where he will go up against Chris Froome and Egan Bernal (Team Sky), Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First) and Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana).
Alaphilippe has enjoyed a low-key winter after the huge disappointment of the Innsbruck world Championships, skipping Il Lombardia and the end of season criteriums in Japan and China, instead preferring to spend time at home. His fast sprint finish and climbing ability made Alaphilippe the designated team leader of the French team but he was unable to go with Alejandro Valverde, Michael Woods and compatriot Romain Bardet on the final steep Höll climb.
Despite his Innsbruck disappointment, Alaphilippe had a successful 2018 season with Quick-Step Floors, winning Fleche Wallonne ahead of Valverde, the Clasica San Sebastian, the Tour of Britain and two stages at the Tour de France plus the polka-dot mountains jersey. His friendly nature, bike handling skills and success has made him the new hero of the French cycling fans.
On Friday evening he honoured in his hometown of Saint-Amand-Montrond in the Centre-Val de Loire of France. He revealed his 2019 race schedule to local newspaper Le Berry Republicain and via the Quick-Step Floors team.
“Last season was truly memorable, but that’s history now and the only thing that matters is what next year will bring in terms of results. I’m very motivated to keep the ball rolling, add to the results I have enjoyed together with this fantastic team and show what I’m capable of, as I’m confident I haven’t reached my limits yet,” Alaphilippe said.
“Starting early, in Argentina – a country of which I’ve heard only great things from Max Richeze – and then in Colombia, where I took my first win in 2018, will give me the chance to find my legs right away after the off-season and lay the foundation for what I hope to be another beautiful and memorable year.”
Alaphilippe will join up with his Quick-Step Floors teammates for a first winter training camp in Calpe, Spain.
Alaphilippe rode Paris-Nice in 2018 but explained to Le Berry Republicainthat he will head to Italy in early March and ride Strade Bianche and Tirreno-Adriatico before Milan-San Remo.
"My first classic will be the Strade Bianche and my first stage race Tirreno-Adriatico. I will also do Milan-San Remo,” he confirmed, recalling that he finished third in Milan-San Remo in 2017 after contesting the close sprint with Michal Kwiatkowski and Peter Sagan.
“After that I should do roughly the same races as last year: The Tour of the Basque Country and the Ardennes Classics."
Alaphilippe attended the presentation of the 2019 Tour de France route and saw several chances for stage victories but was keen not to think about the Grand Boucle for now.
“Frankly it’s still very early. I’m not thinking about it yet. Of course, the route looks pretty difficult, there should be nice opportunities but let’s not go too fast, we still have time to study all things,” he concluded.
Alaphilippe's success at the Tour de France was captured in the Cyclingnews film Running With Wolves. It is available to rent for $3.99 USD or buy for $6.99 USD.
You can also still purchase our first two films, THE HOLY WEEK and CRESCENDO, on Vimeo. RUNNING WITH WOLVES from Cyclingnews Films on Vimeo, produced by La Pédale and with special thanks to Quick-Step Floors.