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Julian Alaphilippe signs Deceuninck-QuickStep contract extension

OUDENAARDE, BELGIUM - APRIL 04: Julian Alaphilippe of France and Team Deceuninck - Quick-Step during the 105th Ronde van Vlaanderen - Tour of Flanders 2021, Men's Elite a 251,5km race from Antwerp to Oudenaarde / #RVV21 / #rondevanvlaanderen / #tourofflanders / on April 04, 2021 in Oudenaarde, Belgium. (Photo by Nico Vereecken - Pool/Getty Images)
Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) in action at the Tour of Flanders (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Current road race world champion Julian Alaphilippe has signed a three-year contract extension with Patrick Lefevere's Deceuninck-QuickStep squad.

The move puts an end to speculation linking the Frenchman with a move to a rival WorldTour team and comes soon after teammate and young star Remco Evenepoel signed a long-term contract extension of his own.

"I look forward to continuing with this family and I want to say thank you to Patrick and the sponsors for the confidence they have shown in these eight years and continue to show," Alaphilippe said in a statement released by his team.

"It's incredible to think of what we achieved together and all the beautiful memories we have. We are the Wolfpack and we race to win. It's our mentality and one of our strengths, we all go in the same direction, and this is one of the reasons I feel good here and do what I do with immense pleasure. I am looking forward to more great results with Deceuninck-QuickStep this season and in the coming years."

Alaphilippe has taken just one win this season, a stage in Tirreno-Adriatico, but he has been an integral ingredient in the team's overall success and helped to set up Kasper Asgreen for the win in the Tour of Flanders.

The 28-year-old Frenchman's attention now turns to the Ardennes Classics, which kick off this weekend with Amstel Gold race, where he will lock horns with the likes of Primož Roglič, Wout van Aert, Marc Hirschi and Brabantse Pijl winner Tom Pidcock. The world champion said that re-signing with Lefevere's team was down to the squad's winning mentality and family environment.

"I still remember my first meeting and my first race with the team like it was yesterday. I remember being excited and eager to discover cycling at the biggest level. I was the only French rider in the roster at that time and I got precious advice from the experienced guys. I was extremely motivated to improve and show the team I want to become better and win races.

"That's what I did in these past eight years, and at the same time, I discovered myself and learned more about me. It's special to think that now I am one of the most experienced riders in the team and I help the young riders, to whom I am always happy to give advice and help make important progress and become better. It shows you how time flies, but also what a great family, as I already said, we all are."

Lefevere has yet to announce his complete sponsorship plans for next year as agreements with both title sponsors' are set to expire, but the signature of Alaphilippe represents another key part in the team's plans for the future. The team boss still needs to decide the futures over several of his other star riders, including Sam Bennett, João Almeida and Asgreen.

"It is fabulous news that Julian has agreed to stay with us for three more years," Lefevere said. "He joined the team as a fresh-faced 21-year-old, and while we knew that he had talent and ability, to see him grow into the stature within the sport that he has today, makes us very proud.

"He has achieved so much in that time that it is difficult to begin to list everything, but perhaps the most iconic are the beautiful jerseys that he has held. He really caught the public's attention when he won in the mountains jersey at the 2018 Tour de France, and then having yellow for so long in 2019 and having it again in 2020 was a bit of a fairy tale. And he followed that up last September, with his unforgettable solo win in Imola to take the World Champion's rainbow jersey, which was very emotional for all of us."

"We have seen him grow as a rider but also as a person. People gravitate to him because he has the personality of a leader but also of a fantastic teammate, working hard for the whole team – we saw recently at the Ronde van Vlaanderen just how much Kasper's victory meant to him. He is a true Wolfpack member that embodies the spirit of everything we are trying to create and achieve and I am very happy that he will be with us for what we hope will be three more beautiful years."