Alaphilippe: I wasn't the strongest because I do not win
French leader contradicts national coach after late attack falls short at Worlds
New French national coach Cyril Guimard suggested that Julian Alaphilippe and not Peter Sagan deserved to be the winner of the elite men's road race at the UCI Road World Championships in Bergen because of the Frenchman's strong attack on Salmon Hill and determination to continue his attack until being caught with a kilometre to go. But Alaphilippe himself would have none of it.
"He came here to attack and he did it. He deserved the win more than Sagan," argued Guimard. "He is disappointed but doesn't have any regrets."
Alaphilippe managed to finish 10th in the sprint won by Sagan even after his long attack. He was clearly one of the strongest riders in the race but he did not agree that he was the strongest or that he deserved a rainbow jersey.
"No, I wasn't the strongest. I tried to be the strongest but I wasn't the strongest because I do not win," Alaphilippe told French website Directvelo.
"I dropped everyone on the climb but the finish line wasn't at the top of the climb. I gave it a go and the legs were there but what can you do?"
The Italian team was critical of Alaphilippe's attack on the cobbles that distanced Gianni Moscon. The Italian managed to get back on after the descent but then refused to help Alaphilippe.
Guimard thought that the return of the Italian proved fatal. Again Alaphilippe did not agree with the veteran coach and former directeur sportif to Hinault, Fignon and LeMond who was named as French national coach this summer.
"I don't think Moscon coming back to me ended my chances, it truth it was difficult to avoid being caught by the peloton. One rider making it to the finish alone was always going to be difficult," Alaphilippe told Directvelo.
"It was a hard race, it wore you down but not so much as to get rid of the fast riders. All the sprinters had teammates and so they did what they could to help riders like Kristoff and Trentin. I did what I could. I've no regrets. I'm just disappointed it didn't work out. We worked well as a team but the result does not reflect that."
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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has been Head of News at Cyclingnews since 2022, before which he held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and CyclingWeekly, among other publications.