Julian Alaphilippe returns to competition ahead of Tour de France

HUY BELGIUM APRIL 20 Julian Alaphilippe of France and Team QuickStep Alpha Vinyl crosses the finish line during the 86th La Flche Wallonne 2022 Mens Elite a 2011km one day race from Blegny to Mur de Huy 204m WorldTour FlecheWallonne on April 20 2022 in Huy Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images
World champion Julian Alaphilippe in action at La Flèche Wallonne (Image credit: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)

Julian Alaphilippe will return to competition for the first time since his crash at Liège-Bastogne-Liège when he lines out at the French Championships road race in Cholet on Sunday.

His place in QuickStep-AlphaVinyl’s squad for the Tour de France has yet to be confirmed, but his participation this weekend appears to augur well for his chances of lining up in Copenhagen on July 1.

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. Romain Bardet scrambled down a grass bank to come to Alaphilippe’s aid after the crash, and he expressed shock afterwards at the nature of the crash and of his compatriot’s injuries.

Alaphilippe’s rehabilitation saw him return to training on the road in late May, when he linked up with his QuickStep-AlphaVinyl team for a training camp in Sierra Nevada. On joining up with his teammates, Alaphilippe outlined his hopes of riding the Tour.

“If everything continues as it is, then the option of the Tour de France is still open, which is still in my mind,” Alaphilippe said. “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.”

Alaphilippe has won stages on each of the past four Tours, and he has worn the yellow jersey in the past three editions of the race. His best Tour came in 2019, when he wore the maillot jaune for two weeks, won two stages and placed fifth overall in Paris.

Despite carrying the yellow jersey into the final three days of that Tour, Alaphilippe has declined to focus on the general classification in the years since, preferring to target stage victories.

Alaphilippe will be joined at the French Championships road race by his QuickStep teammates Rémi Cavagna and Florian Sénéchal. Cavagna is also set to ride the time trial on Thursday.

Kasper Asgreen will not ride the Danish Championships this week after a crash forced him out of the Tour de Suisse, but directeur sportif Brian Holm suggested that his Tour participation was not in serious doubt.

“They're having him checked out and it looks okay,” Holm told Discovery+ on Monday. “As soon as the worst pain is gone, he can start cycling again, whether that’s three, four, five or six days. He is not on the bike yet, but I think he will be soon.”

Asgreen’s compatriot Michael Mørkøv is set to ride the Danish Championships, while Fabio Jakobsen, the man he is expected to lead out at the Tour next month, will participate in the Dutch Championships on Sunday.

Remco Evenepoel, who will skip the Tour de France to focus on the Vuelta a España, headlines the sizeable QuickStep contingent at the Belgian Championships.

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Barry Ryan
Head of Features

Barry Ryan is Head of Features 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, published by Gill Books.