Julian Alaphilippe: The rainbow jersey makes people make mistakes

Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep)
Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) (Image credit: Getty Images)

Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) may have hung up his wheels for the winter but the two-time road world champion has kept himself busy with a new book out at the start of November.

Titled ‘Julian’ the book charts a year in the life of the Frenchman and tracks the highs and personal lows he has faced since winning the first of his rainbow jerseys in 2021. At a press event to publicize the book, Alaphilippe told reporters that wearing the rainbow jersey caused him to make mistakes as a rider.

He pointed to the finish of Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2021, when he celebrated too soon in sprint and lost out to Primož Roglič and several other riders as a prime example. He also hinted at the pressures that come with racing as the men’s world champion and the idea of disappointing fans was a weight on his shoulders at times.

“The rainbow jersey makes people make mistakes,” he told Het Nieuwsblad

“I had to learn to ride with that jersey, I had to learn to wear the jersey. My biggest mistake? My loss in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, without a doubt. I wanted to make that jersey shine too much and that's why I made a mistake. You don't want to disappoint anyone with a jersey like this: not the fans, not the team and not even myself. I hope I don't make those mistakes again next year and that I can do my thing again next season without complexes: make the race and win."

The 29-year-old also talked about his connection with Belgian cycling and the country as a whole. He has raced his entire career for Patrick Lefevere’s squad having joined the WorldTour ranks in 2014.

“Because I have defended the colours of the Belgian team Deceuninck-Quick-Step all my career, because I had my first successes in Belgian competitions, I have always felt at home here, Belgium has always welcomed me well. And the love is mutual. I like the Belgian races, also the Flemish ones. I don't think you will find fifty riders in France who have these races in their DNA. I do. Then you must be partly Belgian.”

Another reason for the book lies in Alaphilippe’s desire to share his emotional journey. As well as enjoying success on the bike he also went through important personal moments off the bike, too – from the birth of his first son to the tragic loss of his late father.

“The book is about one year in my career, but not just any year. It has been a year full of emotions, both professionally and privately. Enough to write a book about it, I thought. The memories, the images… I wanted to share this with my fans.”

"I tried to talk as openly as possible about that year,” he said.

"Because there were so many emotions: the world titles, of course, but a lot was also happening in my private life. I thought that should also be in the book. All those conversations came naturally.”

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Cyclingnews is the world's leader in English-language coverage of professional cycling. Started in 1995 by University of Newcastle professor Bill Mitchell, the site was one of the first to provide breaking news and results over the internet in English. The site was purchased by Knapp Communications in 1999, and owner Gerard Knapp built it into the definitive voice of pro cycling. Since then, major publishing house Future PLC has owned the site and expanded it to include top features, news, results, photos and tech reporting. The site continues to be the most comprehensive and authoritative English voice in professional cycling.