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Patrick Lefevere: Despite Alaphilippe’s Giro, still no Tour

The Belgian boss of Soudal Quick-Step said it was great he won a stage in Italy, but he won’t be heading to France

Patrick Lefevere: despite Alaphilippe’s Giro, still no Tour

In January, Julian Alaphilippe stated he wouldn’t compete in this year’s Tour de France. Despite a strong performance in the Giro d’Italia, there was speculation that he might reconsider. However, Alaphilippe intends to stick to his original plan, focusing on the Olympic Games in Paris. Patrick Lefevere confirmed this in an interview with L’Équipe.

“I called him on the night of his stage win in the Giro,” Lefevere said. “He told me that he could imagine that people would think of him for the Tour, but that he wouldn’t want to start there because of other goals. He assured me that he would respect our decision because we are his employer, but I can’t imagine for a moment that I would force him to appear at the start. As a team, we’ve never forced anyone to do anything.”

But the former world champion has bigger goals in mind–since there happens to be another big race in his home country.

“Moreover, I understand that Julian has Paris in mind,” Lefevere said. “This could be his last chance to win at the Olympics, and that in his own country. Why deprive him of that opportunity?”

Alaphilippe faced challenges in the spring, including a fibula fracture. However, in the Giro d’Italia, the two-time world champion experienced a remarkable revival. He consistently launched attacks and was recognized as the most combative rider of the tour. His determined attitude also led to a victory in the twelfth stage to Fano.

The win was somewhat redemptive after several years plagued with injury, sickness and crashes. As well, Alaphilippe faced considerable public criticism from his boss in the press. Fans were delighted to see the 31-year-old back on the winner’s step at the Giro.

The Paris Olympics course suits him as well, with some punchy climbs. Given that he has excelled at some of the biggest one-day races in the world–two rainbow jerseys, three La Flèche Wallonnes, as well as a win at Milan – San Remo, it might be a great result for the rider who is coming to the end of his career.

There are rumours the French rider will leave his current outfit–where he has called home for his entire career. He began on the development team in 2013 before graduating to the WorldTour team the next year. Cofidis as well as TotalEnergies are apparently interested in signing the rider, which would most likely be his last contract in pro cycling.