YOU'VE GOT THAT WINNING FEELING
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.