As he launches his new season this Wednesday, Julian Alaphilippe still has the black year experienced last year in his throat. And not just because of his falls.
It’s back to school day for Julian Alaphilippe. The French rider is competing in his first race of the season this Wednesday, the Maojorque Grand Prix. A much-awaited recovery. Consequence of a nightmarish year 2022 but also of the big pressure put by Patrick Lefevere. “I told him that I was not happy at all. I understand his illnesses and his falls, but you can’t keep hiding behind this. It was the cold truth”said the big boss of Quick Step again on Tuesday, adding: “Last year he won twice, previous years three and four times. I didn’t take him on the team for that. »
According to the person concerned, the flashy declarations of Patrick Lefevere leave him indifferent. “My relationship with Patrick Lefevere has always been the same, from my first year in the team until now. We were always transparent with each other, we always had a good dialogue, when things were going well, when things were not going so well, assured the native of Saint-Amand-Montrond. The statements he may have had will in no way affect my way of working and my motivation for the season. I’m focused on what I have to do, as I always have been. »
I took the full face
Julian Alaphippe is no less thirsty for revenge. Blame it on the blows of fate he suffered last season but also on certain comments that accompanied him throughout this annus horribilis. “Last season was punctuated by glitches, besides that the season continues, the objectives are there, you are not at the level. It’s an infernal circle greatly enlarged by the media and certain declarations, he denounced. Without the world champion jersey, it would have been different. When you’re a lambda runner, nobody cares but when you have the jersey, it’s harder to live. I took full face, now I will do everything to set the record straight. »
“Whether we forgot or not (what I did), I don’t care. I have good memories of what I have done and I have rage for what I will do again”he added, adding: “It’s one of the first seasons where I feel so free, so relaxed. I don’t feel any pressure, I just want to enjoy. I am happy and motivated to start the season. »