"Just brilliant to see Alaphilippe doing Alaphilippe things" - Experts share delight at former world champion's Giro d'Italia stage win

Julian Alaphilippe is back and back with a bang. Taking his first Grand Tour stage win since the 2021 Tour de France, the former world champion soloed to a stunning success on stage 12 of the 2024 Giro d'Italia, in a performance that many within the cycling world were delighted to see.

Sprint legend Robbie McEwen was covering the stage for Eurosport and the Australian was left gobsmacked by the Soudal - Quick-Step star's emphatic return to form after a quiet couple of years, where he was plagued with injury, illness and bad luck. "That is a ride for the ages," McEwen reflected on 'The Breakaway' post-stage for Eurosport. "Going out that early, that hard from a group with so much power behind it, the chances of success are pretty low. But there's a chance, and if you're Julian Alaphilippe all you need is a one in a million and he's pulled it off. It was incredible."

Riding in his typically aggressive and full-gas manner, Alaphilippe was on the attack for over 120 kilometres during the day, before finally arriving solo into Fano, 31 seconds clear of the INEOS Grenadiers' Jhonatan Narvaez at the line. Having already shown some positive signs with a 2nd placed finish on stage 6, where Movistar Team's Pelayo Sanchez took victory, Alaphilippe's return to form has been an emphatic silencing to his doubters.

"All the riders that are hugging him speaks volumes. He's a very-respected rider in the way that he's ridden in the start of his career up until now," adds Adam Blythe, pointing out how despite the lack of results in recent years, the love for the French talent has never dwindled.

No one has been more outspoken in their criticism of Alaphilippe in recent years than his team boss, Patrick Lefevere, with the controversial Belgian growing increasingly personal in his tirade of public criticism of his star. "I think the weight on his shoulders has been extremely heavy. [He's] one of the best-paid riders within that team, so he's expected to perform," says Blythe. "He has been through a lot, he's been questioned a lot, he's been given a lot of abuse from his boss towards not only him, his family. I think to come out of that the other side and just let the legs do the talking without saying anything to media, that is by far the best way to deal with it. Full chapeau to him, it's just brilliant to see Alaphilippe doing Alaphilippe things."

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