"Too many parties and alcohol" as Patrick Lefevere is tough as nails to get Julian Alaphilippe back to his best

Expectations are rising and all eyes are once again on Julian Alaphilippe, the charismatic French rider of the Soudal - Quick-Step team. After two disappointing seasons, the Frenchman has a clear imperative: to re-emerge in the spring and once again excel in the classics. However, his road to redemption appears to be hampered by extra-sporting problems, according to recent revelations from team manager Patrick Lefevere.

At just 31 years old, Alaphilippe is at a crucial crossroads in his professional career. With two world titles to his credit, his talent and skills on the bike are undisputed. However, his performance has been inconsistent in recent years, raising questions about his commitment and focus.

In a revealing interview with José De Cauwer in HUMO magazine, Patrick Lefevere bluntly laid out the French rider's situation. "Julian is a good guy, but after signing his mega-contract, he stopped performing," Lefevere asserted, highlighting a drop in Alaphilippe's performance after securing a lucrative contract with the team.

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Lefevere went on to explain the possible reasons behind Alaphilippe's reduced performance, pointing to problems related to excessive partying and alcohol consumption, especially in the company of his sports journalist partner Marion Rousse. "Too much partying, too much alcohol.... with Marion," Lefevere stated, suggesting that these habits could be affecting the rider's dedication and concentration in competitions.

The team manager did not spare warnings, indicating that he has had direct and serious conversations with Alaphilippe about his behavior. "I spoke to him in November last year, in front of Marion and his representative Dries Smets. I told him, 'This can't go on like this. If you screw up one more time, I'll fire you on the spot,'" Lefevere revealed, underlining the seriousness of the situation and the need for immediate change.

However, Lefevere also recognized Alaphilippe's potential and the importance of supporting him in his recovery process. "Julian is a young dog full of energy," Lefevere commented. "You have to let him cross the track from time to time. And you also have to tell him: this far and no further. There is still a naughty little man in him."

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