"I was a bit surprised when I read that" - Alaphilippe surprised but confident in Patrick Lefevere's trust

Patrick Lefevere's comments over the last few months have hinted at dissatisfaction with Julian Alaphilippe, and the Frenchman has finally responded.

“Every time I had conversations with him, everything went well. He also never asked me if I want to leave," Alaphilippe revealed in conversation with L'Équipe. "He never said such things to me. To be honest, I was a bit surprised when I read that. If he really had a problem with me, he would have spoken to me about it first. So I'm not too worried.”

The manager of Soudal - Quick-Step had commented that "he owes me a revenge” following a disappointing season in which Alaphilippe suffered several injuries and badly-timed illnesses. "I don't care that he is no longer world champion, but he hasn't won much in recent years," he also mentioned, whilst in the past commenting on how he was not keen on paying world champion bonuses.

However, the relation looks sturdy as Alaphilippe shrugs off concerns. The former World Champion will aim to return to his best level this spring and aims high towards the Tour des Flandres where he was within a shot of winning three years ago. He will begin his season next week at the Mallorca classics.

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