No Tour de France for Julian Alaphilippe says Patrick Lefevere: "Last chance to win at the Olympic Games, and in his own country. Why deprive him of that opportunity?

After a stunning return to form at the recent Giro d'Italia, where he took home a stage win and the Most Combative Rider award, many were calling for Julian Alaphilippe to make the Soudal - Quick-Step lineup for the 2024 Tour de France. According to Patrick Lefevere however, that won't be happening.

"I called him on the evening of his stage victory in the Giro d'Italia," the Soudal - Quick-Step boss, who has had a long and somewhat troubled relationship with the French former world champion, reveals in conversation with L'Equipe. "He told me that he imagined people would think of him for the Tour de France, but he didn't want to do that because he had other goals in mind."

Those other goals, are most notably the Paris Olympic Games later this summer. "He assured me that he would respect our decision because we are his employer, but I cannot imagine for a moment that I would force him to be at the start. We never did it for anyone," Lefevere explains. "Above all, I understand that Julian already has Paris in mind. This could easily be his last chance to win at the Olympic Games, and in his own country. Why deprive him of that opportunity?"

This news is sure to disappoint Remco Evenepoel, who previously announced he wants Alaphilippe by his side for his Tour de France debut. "His Giro was exceptional. It's been a long time since we've seen him at this level. I'm really happy to see him like that, to see him having fun and achieving results," the Soudal - Quick-Step leader confirmed in a pre-Criterium du Dauphine video call with various different press outlets.

For French National Coach Thomas Voeckler however, the news of Alaphilippe fully focusing on the Olympics is a massive boost. "It wouldn't exactly be an advantage to have him first ride the Giro and the Tour in the run-up to the Olympic Games. That requires an enormous amount of focus and strength, especially with the focus on Remco Evenepoel's rankings," Voeckler tells L'Equipe. "He can only do the Tour if he rides for himself, in the run-up to the Games. And that is not possible with that focus."

julianalaphilippe 2
Alaphilippe completed his set of Grand Tour stage wins in style at the 2024 Giro d'Italia 

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