Not as successful as his Soudal-Quick Step team since the start of the year, except for his success in the Ardèche Classique, Julian Alaphilippe hopes to start his season on Sunday during the Tour of Flanders. A race that never smiled on him, however.
On paper, that seems unlikely. Even more when we know that the Belgian Monument, which still resonates with the misadventure three years ago of the French rider, hit by a motorcycle for his first participation in the meeting when he was part of the leading group and could aim wins, has never smiled at Julian Alaphilippe since his debut. However, this Tour of Flanders 2023, Sunday, the puncher of the Soudal-Quick Step team is counting heavily on it to finally start his season. Eleventh in Milan – San Remo during the first Monument on the calendar of the season, only 29th in A travers la Flandre and forced in the meantime on the E3 GP to throw in the towel along the way due to intestinal problems, the double champion of the world has for the moment to put in its mouth only the Ardèche Classique, its only success in 2023. However, the native of Saint-Amand-Montrond would like that to change as soon as possible, and in the best of worlds from Sunday on the “Ronde”.
“A big result would do the team good”
Not only the 5th of the Tour de France 2019 will line up at the start with a strong taste of revenge in the mouth, but he hopes that his team, also very discreet since the resumption in the shadows in particular of the big armada Jumbo-Visma, will also take advantage of this race promised a priori to Tadej Pogacar, Mathieu van der Poel or Wout Van Aert to recover their health. “A big result would be good for the team, recognizes the companion of Marion Rousse, interviewed by AFP. Not being favorites relieves us of the responsibility of having to control the race from kilometer zero. It’s up to us to take advantage of it to be outnumbered in the final. »
“I start every race to win it”
With the hope in the first place for “Alafpolak” to be able to raise his arms, he who has only one Monument (Milan – San Remo in 2019) on his list. “I will continue to do what I know how to do without giving up. I start every race to win it. It will be no different on Sunday”assures the person concerned, who is crossing his fingers that ” the wheel spins “. “Because we need a big result because our expectations are high at this time of the season”, adds our representative, who dreams of imitating the best Habs at the moment: Christophe Laporte. Even if on Sunday, Van Aert’s lieutenant will do everything to allow the Belgian to triumph.