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Alaphilippe 'breathing better' with new tests to decide shape of season

LIEGE BELGIUM APRIL 24 Julian Alaphilippe of France and Team QuickStep Alpha Vinyl during the team presentation prior to the 108th Liege Bastogne Liege 2022 Mens Elite a 2572km one day race from Lige to Lige LBL WorldTour on April 24 2022 in Liege Belgium Photo by Bas CzerwinskiGetty Images
Julian Alaphilippe is a doubt for this year's Tour de France (Image credit: Bas CzerwinskiGetty Images)

Julian Alaphilippe has spoken publicly for the first time since his crash at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, explaining that his recovery is going well and that upcoming tests will determine his racing return. 

The world champion was badly injured in a mass crash at the Belgian Monument race on April 24, suffering a punctured lung as well as broken ribs and shoulder blade. 

His cousin and coach, Franck Alaphilippe, along with his QuickStep-AlphaVinyl team boss Patrick Lefevere, have provided updates on his condition but Alaphilippe himself took to social media on Saturday to share his own thoughts. 

"Hello everyone, after taking the necessary time, I'm happy to give you some news. My recovery is going well and the pain is less severe. I'm breathing much better and everything is going in the right direction," he said.

"I hope that big crash will soon be just a bad memory. I have to thank you for your numerous messages of support, which have really touched me over the past 10 days."

With serious, lasting injury seemingly ruled out, attention has turned to recovery time and the extent to which Alaphilippe's season has been dented.

Liège-Bastogne-Liège was always going to be the final race of his spring campaign, with the Frenchman typically taking a break in May and then training at altitude before returning to racing in June ahead of the Tour de France

In that sense, he is not missing out in the here and now but a question mark still hangs over the Tour after Lefevere described it as "a race against time" for his star rider to be fit for the start on July 1. 

"The next tests will decide the rest of my season," Alaphilippe wrote on Saturday. 

"I'm already motivated for what's to come and am eager to see you again. For now, I'm making the most of time with my small family."

According to Lefevere, the most favourable scenario would see Alaphilippe back on his bike in mid-May, giving him just six weeks to build his form for the Tour. 

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Deputy Editor - Europe. Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. After joining Cyclingnews as a staff writer on the back of work experience, Patrick became Features Editor in 2018 and oversaw significant growth in the site’s long-form and in-depth output. Since 2021 he has been Deputy Editor - Europe, taking more responsibility for the site’s content as a whole, while still writing and - despite a pandemic-induced hiatus - travelling to races around the world. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.