Julian Alaphilippe, the French cycling star and world champion, is set to make a grand return to the Tour Down Under in 2024, a decade after his first and only participation in the event. This announcement was made by his team, Soudal Quick-Step, confirming that Alaphilippe will kick off the new cycling season in Australia.
In his first professional year back in 2014, Alaphilippe, then a neo-pro, finished 68th overall in the Australian stage race and secured fourth place in the young rider classification. Now, nearly ten years later, the 31-year-old rider is returning as an established figure in the world of cycling.
Reflecting on his upcoming participation, Alaphilippe expressed his excitement about starting his season at the Tour Down Under, reminiscing about his debut race for Quick-Step as a neo-pro. He fondly remembers the incredible fans, the fantastic weather, and is eager to reconnect with the many supporters at the event.
The 2024 edition of the Tour Down Under (scheduled for 16th-21st January) seems tailor-made for Alaphilippe’s skills. Notably, the race will not commence with a prologue, unlike the previous year. Instead, it will feature stages finishing on Willunga Hill and Mount Lofty, routes that could favour Alaphilippe’s riding style. The previous edition at the start of 2023 saw local favourite Jay Vine take the overall victory. Alaphilippe’s participation adds an extra layer of excitement to the event, promising a thrilling start to the cycling season.