Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) has reiterated that he is unwilling to sacrifice the Classics and the rest of the calendar in order to focus on the general classification of the Tour de France. The Frenchman sparked home hopes of a first win since 1985 when he held the yellow jersey for two weeks on the 2019 Tour, ultimately placing 5th overall, but he has yet to make a concerted tilt at final overall victory.
“I know there are many people who want to see a Frenchman win the Tour. I’m one of them, I would be very happy to see a Frenchman win. If I set that as my goal, and if I achieve it, it would be the apotheosis,” Alaphilippe said, according to Ouest France.
“But I also have so many other goals besides the Tour, so I know that if I set that kind of goal, I won't be able to be everywhere else. For the moment, I have made the choice to focus more on the Classics and to do long seasons; to be ready for the Tour but without the idea of playing for the GC. It's a choice. Some people bet everything on the Tour and we see them less at the beginning of the season, but then some are present at the beginning of the season, shine on the Tour and are still there at the end of the season.”
Alaphilippe, who won his second consecutive world title in Leuven this year, has already confirmed that he will slightly pare back his racing calendar in 2022, when he will forgo the Tour of Flanders and the cobbled Classics in order to focus more squarely on the Ardennes Classics.
He will return to the Tour in July and hope to mark the race once again, even if he stopped short of outlining any general classification ambitions. Alaphilippe has won six stages at the Tour and worn the yellow jersey on each of the past three editions of the race. He also claimed the king of the mountains title in 2018 and was honoured as the most combative rider in 2019.
“In any case, the day I decide to bet everything on the Tour, whether it works or not, I won’t shout it from the rooftops because there is already enough pressure as it is,” Alaphilippe said.
“The Tour is a tough race, and the year I finished fifth, no one imagined [beforehand] that I would have done that. If one day I do it [target GC on the Tour - ed.], it will be with that in mind. I would start with that in mind but without dreaming too much.”
Alaphilippe was speaking to promote his recently published autobiography, and he was asked for his opinion of the concerns about the use of ketones and other substances outlined by Arnaud Démare during the promotion of his own book in recent weeks.“Not everyone has the same restrictions on certain products like ketones,” said Démare, who rides for Groupama-FDJ, a member of the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC). “I am part of a team that has made commitments, as have others. But the whole peloton is not like us.”
“His doubts? I'll see when I read it, but I don't really know what he's talking about,” said Alaphilippe, whose Deceuninck-QuickStep squad is not signed up to the MPCC’s additional, voluntary measures.
“Of course there are riders in the peloton who can express doubts, ask questions, even the general public can do it. But as long as you know what you're doing, as long as you’re not worried about anything, I don't have a problem like that. Even if there are riders who are stronger than me, who are "overpowering", as soon as you start to have doubts, as soon as you start to think about things like that, there is no point in going training…”
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