Julian Alaphilippe: Van Aert and Van der Poel are 'ultra-favourites' for Milan-San Remo

CHIUSDINO ITALY MARCH 11 Arrival Mathieu Van Der Poel of Netherlands and Team AlpecinFenix Julian Alaphilippe of France and Team Deceuninck QuickStep Celebration Wout Van Aert of Belgium and Team Jumbo Visma Blue Leader Jersey during the 56th TirrenoAdriatico 2021 Stage 2 a 202km stage from Camaiore to Chiusdino 522m TirrenoAdriatico on March 11 2021 in Chiusdino Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
Julian Alaphilippe tops Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert in a stage of Tirreno-Adriatico (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

For the time being, Julian Alaphilippe is content to be the third man. Every time Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel pin on a number, in the fields or on the road, they seem to compete as though it were the final, defining encounter in their rivalry. The Frenchman, by contrast, seems more willing to pick and choose his battles.

Tirreno-Adriatico was a case in point. Alaphilippe ran through the scales to win at Chiusdino on stage 2, but he was a more muted presence later in the week, where he appeared to be meting out his efforts more carefully with Milan-San Remo in mind.

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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.