Julian Alaphilippe will be racing in France today, but he can't help but to look back over the last few months, where he feared his career may have been over after crashing into a ditch at Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
"Whether this rainbow jersey is cursed? No, I don't think so. I don't believe in that," Alaphilippe told Sportweekend. He's recently returned to competition but immediately had to stop with a Covid-19 infection, off the back of several months with almost no racing due to the injuries at Liège-Bastogne-Liège. There he sustained several injuries, including broken ribs and a pneumothorax. "I was afraid I couldn't race anymore, because I was in real pain," he detailed. "But when I got permission from the doctors to train lightly again, I immediately thought of the Tour."
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With his form far from ideal, he ended up not being selected, instead focusing on the latter third of the season, with the Vuelta a Espana and the World championships as the centerpiece of the period. He will be starting the Tour de l'Ain this week, with the goal of getting back some form and rhythm ahead of the final Grand Tour of the season.
Alaphilippe will be racing the Vuelta later this month, where he will be teaming up with Remco Evenepoel, with high ambitions into the race. "With his fitness, he is capable of doing great things," he said regarding the Belgian talent. "What is possible then? Everything is possible. Win? I hope so. He can win, but it can also be big numbers or nice victories."