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Alaphilippe cleared to train indoors but Tour de France still in doubt

Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step AlphaVinyl)
Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step AlphaVinyl) (Image credit: Getty Images)

Julian Alaphilippe has been cleared to start training on the rollers three weeks after he crashed out of Liège-Bastogne-Liège but his participation in this year’s Tour de France remains in doubt, just 50 days from the start in Copenhagen. 

Alaphilippe was involved in the mass crash at close to 70km/h ahead of the Col du Rosier at Liège-Bastogne-Liège along with more than a dozen other major contenders. He suffered a punctured lung, fractured ribs and fractured shoulder blade. He spent several days in hospital and then time at his home in Belgium, initially unable to fly due to his injuries. 

His QuickStep-AlphaVinyl team revealed on Thursday that Alaphilippe had undergone further examinations a hospital in Herentals, Belgium, which confirmed that his punctured lung had now completely healed, giving him the green light to get back in the saddle.  

The world champion was always going to take a break from racing after the Ardennes Classics but doubts remain if he will be on form for the Tour de France.

According to his QuickStep-AlphaVinyl team manager Patrick Lefevere, he is facing a race against time

“We will do everything we can, but it will be a race against time," Lefevere wrote in his regular column in Het Nieuwsblad. 

"If, in the most favorable case, he is back on his bike in mid-May, he still has six weeks. The Tour starts on Friday 1 July, a week earlier than usual. That is of course not an advantage."

QuickStep-AlphaVinyl said that Alaphilippe’s condition will be monitored as he returns to riding indoors before any further decisions and a race programme for his return to racing is decided. 

The logical path to prepare for the Tour de France could be to ride the Critérium du Dauphiné (June 5-12) or the Tour de Suisse (June 12-19). Other shorter stage races such as the Adriatica Ionica Race (June 4-8), La Route d'Occitanie (June 16-19) or the Tour of Slovenia (June 15-19) could also be combined to offer a different race programme.  

Alaphilippe led the 2019 Tour de France for 16 days, three in 2020 and after winning the first stage in 2021 in Landerneau. He is an important part of the Belgian team's plans for the Tour de France. 

The team have ruled Remco Evenepoel switching his Grand Tour plan from the Vuelta a Espana to the Tour de France.

"A Tour with or without Alaphilippe makes a big difference, commercially and sportingly. What we are definitely not going to do is use Remco Evenepoel as a stand-in,” Lefevere said on Belgian television.

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Stephen Farrand

Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.