Speaking to Cyclism'Actu, Franck Alaphilippe has given some insight into why he isn't surprised to have been given the boot by Soudal - Quick-Step. "I half expected it. There had already been a first alert with everything that happened around the merger between Jumbo-Visma and Soudal Quick-Step. Being at the end of my contract, that put me in a more than delicate situation," he explains. "Then, once we learned that the merger would not take place, I was not more serene, but I dared to believe it."
Soudal - Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefevere has been a very outspoken critic of the former two-time World Champion in recent years as the Frenchman's form has dipped. This, Franck Alaphilippe says, was a big factor in making his situation somewhat delicate. "There were tensions between Patrick Lefevere and Julian, which made my situation a little uncertain, so I wasn't really surprised."
"I am his coach until the end of December, and for the future, there are currently discussions with the team and with Julian. What is certain is that I will never let him down," Franck continues. "I have already spoken with a sports director of the team and he thinks that the best solution for Julian is for me to continue training him."
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As mentioned, Alaphilippe hasn't been able to find his best form over the past couple of season. Nevertheless, his cousin is confident that 2024 can be a good year for the Frenchman. "He still hopes and believes that he can become the great Julian Alaphilippe again, which is a pretty big deal," Franck explains. "He is motivated, he gives himself the means and he does everything for it.
"Julian has always ridden his bike to win races, so winning little or nothing doesn't suit him. Afterwards, we will see if he manages to regain his best level, the future will tell us."