Julian Alaphilippe has returned to training on the road for the first time since his heavy crash at Liège-Bastogne-Liège last month. He has said that the prospect of his participation at the Tour de France is “still open” pending the speed of his recovery.
The world champion sustained two broken ribs, a broken scapula, and a punctured lung in a mass crash ahead of the Col du Rosier at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, but he revealed on Tuesday that he has joined his QuickStep-AlphaVinyl teammates for a training camp at Sierra Nevada.
"After my last examination in Herentals it was nice to be able to get back on my bike for the first time since my crash in Liège–Bastogne–Liège," Alaphilippe said in a statement released by his team.
"The good news was that my lung had completely recovered, which I was of course very happy about. The broken bones were still painful, which is completely normal as these injuries take more time to recover, but I was advised that I was ok to start training."
Alaphilippe first resumed training on the rollers before venturing onto the road, and he was later given the green light to travel to Sierra Nevada to join his team, though he noted that he is still rehabilitating from his injuries.
"Every day I am improving, and I hope to continue like this – my injuries just need time, so there is no need to have any intervention or surgery, which is why I am able to ride again and it was decided with the team that I am ok to come out here and join the camp," said Alaphilippe, who will hope to return to competition in time for the Tour, which gets underway in Copenhagen on July 1.
Alaphilippe has worn the yellow jersey in each of the past three editions of the Tour, including in 2019, when he led the race for two weeks and finished fifth overall in Paris. Last year, he won the opening stage of the Tour in Landerneau.
"I am trying to be an optimist, but I know I need to take my time and to see how the training is going," said Alaphilippe.
“If everything continues as it is, then the option of the Tour de France is still open, which is still in my mind, but it is really important that we do not rush anything and we continue to be patient, keep talking with the medical team and take their advice before we decide when I can race again.”
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Barry Ryan is European Editor at Cyclingnews. He has covered professional cycling since 2010, reporting from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and events from Argentina to Japan. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Procycling and Cycling Plus. He is the author of The Ascent: Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation (opens in new tab), published by Gill Books.