Julian Alaphilippe: Losing the rainbow jersey would have also been a form of relief

LEUVEN BELGIUM SEPTEMBER 26 Gold medalist Julian Alaphilippe of France celebrates winning during the medal ceremony after the 94th UCI Road World Championships 2021 Men Elite Road Race a 2683km race from Antwerp to Leuven flanders2021 on September 26 2021 in Leuven Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images
(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Julian Alaphilippe has spoken of the contradiction at the heart of this second successive world title, admitting that losing the rainbow jersey would have been “a certain form of relief” and yet explaining how he went to close to breaking point to claim victory in Leuven on Sunday.

The Frenchman won four races in his first stint in the rainbow jersey, including Flèche Wallonne and the opening stage of the Tour de France, but he was not the outstanding favourite to retain his title in Flanders.

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