Alaphilippe docked 20 seconds for illegal feed at Tour de Suisse

PFAFFNAU SWITZERLAND JUNE 08 Julian Alaphilippe of France and Team Deceuninck QuickStep attacks during the 84th Tour de Suisse 2021 Stage 3 a 185km stage from Lachen to Pfaffnau 509m UCIworldtour tds tourdesuisse on June 08 2021 in Pfaffnau Switzerland Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) at the Tour de Suisse (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Julian Alaphilippe has been handed a 20-second penalty for taking an illegal feed in the final kilometres of stage 5 of the Tour de Suisse.

The world champion was part of a 10-man chase group behind attackers Esteban Chaves (Team BikeExchange) and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana-Premier Tech) nine kilometres from the summit finish at Leukerbad when he dropped back to his Deceuninck-QuickStep team car and took a bottle and energy gel.

The race director, watching proceedings from the car situated just behind the group and ahead of the Deceuninck-QuickStep car, could be seen gesturing at Alaphilippe as the Frenchman took a bottle, and the pair had a heated discussion shortly afterwards.

As a result of his penalty, Alaphilippe drops from third to fourth on the general classification, falling from 33 seconds to 53 seconds behind stage winner and race leader Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers).

According the UCI regulation 1.2.039 (opens in new tab), which prohibits feeding in the final 20 kilometres of a stage at a WorldTour stage race, Alaphilippe will also receive a 200CHF fine for his actions.

"I was à bloc, I needed to drink, and my director said I could take a last bidon, but at the moment I was taking it he hesitated a bit," Alaphilippe said after the stage.

"He had just received the order from the commissaire – apparently it was no longer authorized. I'd just thrown my bidon, I needed to drink, so I took it. Apparently, I've been penalised but that doesn't change anything at all."

Alaphilippe finished the stage in seventh place among a chase group behind Carapaz and Fuglsang.

Moments earlier, Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) had gone back to his team car before handing back the item he had been given. The German now moves up to third overall at 38 seconds behind Carapaz.

It's not the first time Alaphilippe has fallen foul of the 'unauthorised feeding' rule. He lost the race lead on stage 5 of the 2020 Tour de France  after taking a bidon from a soigneur with 17.1 kilometres to go on the 183-kilometre sprint stage from Gap to Privas.

Nevertheless, Alaphilippe didn't seem too concerned about his punishment, and was happy with his performance despite not coming away with the victory.

"It was a really nice stage – fast all day. In the final I expected a hard race and was focused up front. The rhythm was very high and I gave it my all," he said. 

"The last climb was a bit more tactical, with some attacks, and I was focused on my tempo because I would have exploded if I’d followed every attack. In the end it was done à la pédale and I was in my place, so no regrets."

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Patrick Fletcher
Deputy Editor

Deputy Editor. 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 2022 he has been Deputy Editor, 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.