Procycling - - DEBRIEF -

Ju­lian Alaphilippe has dis­cov­ered the win­ning habit in 2018. His po­ten­tial hasn’t been in doubt, since he "in­ished run­ner-up to Ale­jan­dro Valverde as a se­cond-year pro in the 2015 Flèche Wal­lonne. But it’s taken him "ive sea­sons as a pro to re­ally hit his stride. Be­tween 2015 and 2017, he picked up a hand­ful of de­cent wins, in­clud­ing the Tour of Cal­i­for­nia GC in 2016, but his plac­ings were out­num­ber­ing his wins.

It’s hard to imag­ine that now. The signs were there early this year that a good sea­son was on the hori­zon. He won a stage at the Colom­bia Oro y Paz, his "irst race of 2018, be­fore adding back-to­back vic­to­ries at the Itzu­lia Basque Coun­try on the eve of the Ar­dennes Clas­sics. The 26-year- old then took a de­but Clas­sic win at Flèche Wal­lonne, re­vers­ing his two pre­vi­ous de­feats to Ale­jan­dro Valverde on the Mur de Huy, and since then has been grow­ing in con"idence and stature. He took two moun­tain stage wins at the Tour de France, along with a pop­u­lar win in the clim­bers’ classi"ica­tion, then im­me­di­ately fol­lowed up with vic­tory in the pres­ti­gious Clásica San Se­bas­tian. His stage win and GC in both the Tours of Bri­tain and Slo­vakia in­di­cated that he’d kept his Tour form through the early au­tumn. As we went to press, his wins to­tal was 12 for the sea­son, but it wouldn’t be sur­pris­ing at all if he added to that by the end of the year.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.