Julian Alaphilippe closer to Tour de France team after Giro d’Italia success

Julian-Alaphilippe-2024-Giro-dItalia-Stage-12

While the Giro d’Italia is still in progress, Stage 12 winner Julian Alaphilippe and his team, Soudal-QuickStep, are reportedly planning for the next Grand Tour and a possible return to the Tour de France. Despite initial plans for the Frenchman to rest after his debut at the Giro this month, he has been rumoured to be a part of Soudal-QuickStep’s 12-rider longlist for the Tour. This news was first reported by French newspaper L’Equipe.

It’s believed that Remco Evenepoel, Soudal-QuickStep’s hopeful for the Tour de France General Classification (GC), has advocated for Alaphilippe’s inclusion in the July squad. The team’s sporting management also supports this inclusion, recognising the 31-year-old’s experience as a major influence. This includes six starts, six stage victories, and a fifth place overall in 2019.

Alaphilippe’s performance in recent seasons has been a bit disappointing compared to his World Championships title in 2021. Before arriving at the Giro this spring, he had achieved only two victories at the WorldTour level. Despite this, he managed to complete the Grand Tour stage win trilogy from the break in Fano. He began his season with a sixth place overall at the Tour Down Under and even managed a top 10 at Milan-San Remo, even though he was nursing a fractured fibula.

His recent form at the Giro has shown promise, however, as he seems recharged and back to top-level racing. He came second behind Pelayo Sánchez from the break on stage 6 and later soloed home on the hilly stage 12, again from the breakaway.

Soudal-QuickStep CEO Patrick Lefevere has publicly criticised Alaphilippe’s performances in the past, but clarified in an interview with Het Laatste Nieuws that there are no personal issues between them. Lefevere said, “My relationship with Julian is not what many want to make of it. That little guy has been riding with me since he was 17. I have believed in him all these years. Things have slowed down in recent years, yes. It’s certainly not my fault. I’m not saying there’s much he can do about it either. It is what it is.”

He also expressed his approval for Alaphilippe making his Giro debut this year and acknowledged the suitability of the course and the more unpredictable racing style compared to the Tour. Referring to his earlier criticisms, Lefevere added, “I have repeated enough times that I was not satisfied. It wasn’t personal. It wasn’t enough for what he can do and what he is paid for. Maybe I didn’t say it the right way. I just don’t have any other style.”

Alaphilippe’s contract is due for renewal this year and there are potential offers from teams like Cofidis for 2025 and beyond. Lefevere revealed that he had proposed a reduced contract offer which was turned down by Alaphilippe’s camp. He explained, “I proposed lowering his contract last year. Not that I would humiliate him; I wouldn’t hit him with a hammer. My proposal was to pay him less wages in 2024 but also to include 2025. That proved that I still had confidence. That was denied and that’s where it ended for me.”

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