Julian Alaphilippe is a professional cyclist who rider for Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team. He is a renowned hilly classics specialist, having won the World Championships in both 2020 and 2021, Milano-Sanremo, Strade Bianche, Clasica San Sebastian and Fléche Wallone on 3 different occasions. He has also won 6 stages in 4 different years at the Tour de France and has worn the yellow jersey on multiple occasions, with his emotional and aggressive style of racing making him one of the most popular figures in the peloton.
Name: Julian Alaphilippe
Born: 11 June 1992
Birthplace: Saint-Amand-Montrond, France
Turned Pro: 2013
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Julian Alaphilippe was born in the central French town of Saint-Armand-Montrond on the 11th of June 1992. The Frenchman would go on to become one of France and cycling's most successful figures, specially in modern times, following a long history of very big figures. However, a classics rider in specialty, he has never been one to contest the Grand Tours of the cobbled classics, but has had his talent be shown in other ways.
Alaphilippe's family is heavily involved in cycling. His cousin Franck Alaphilippe is his own trainer at Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team, and his partner is former pro rider and French broadcast host Marion Rousse. The couple had their first child in 2021. He has a contract with the Belgian team until 2024 and is reported to have a salary of €2.3 million euros per year. In 2021 Alaphilippe is reported to have ridden up Chalet Reynard (Tour de la Provence) averaging 6.3W/Kg for over 29 minutes. This would have him with an FTP estimated around 6-6.1W/Kg, although his capacity as a puncheur, with endurance and explosive efforts being his cup of tea, being more favourable.
Early in his career, as many other great riders in the current peloton, Alaphilippe had a start in Cyclocross. In the 2009-2010 season, his final year as a junior, he's won the World Cup in Heusden-Zolder and finished second in the World Championships. Over the next two seasons he's had a relatively large calendar in the discipline, which included in his final year a victory in the under-23 World Cup race in Roma, beating the likes of Mike Teunissen, Gianni Vermeersch, Wout van Aert, Tim Merlier, Michael Vanthourenhout and Laurens Sweeck. In his penultimate cyclocross event he finished third at the World Championships, behind Vermeersch and Wietse Bosmans.
In the 2013 season however Alaphilippe showed his talent on the road, in his final year as an under-23, and would not go back to the off-road discipline. That year, racing for the Etixx-iHNed team, a team with direct connections with the Quick-Step team, he has taken several wins throughout the season. He won a stage at the Tour de Bretagne, the Grand Prix Sudkarnten, a stage in the Internationale Thuringen-Rundfahrt but most importantly the queen stage of the Tour de l'Avenir (termed frequently as the under-23 Tour de France). The talent was evident and he scored a World Tour contract into 2014. A classics focus team, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team has been his home ever since, and a match made in heaven throughout most of the time. That season he's finished second, third and fourth on several stages at the Volta a Catalunya, proving his worth as a puncheur and fast man in the sprints. Later in the season he finished 3rd in the RideLondon Classic, 5th at the GP Plouay and won his first pro race at the Tour de l'Ain with a stage win on the final day.
2015 would be his breakthrough year however. Having evolved in his peloton riding, he consolidated himself as a top contender for the Ardennes classics. That year he rode to 7th at Amstel Gold Race, and 2nd at both Flèche Wallone and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. His talent wasn't only reserved for the hills however, as he showed his climbing capacity from the under-23 level soon after at the Tour of California where he won the queen stage to Mount Baldy and finished second in the overall classification. Top10 results at the Clasica San Sebastian and Eneco Tour would have him show his quality further in the World Tour calendar.
His 2016 stint was not too different, with a long build-up to the Ardennes where he once again rode to second at the Flèche Wallone, before taking a stage win at the Tour of California, only this time conquering the overall classification. He finished sixth at the Critérium du Dauphiné, and as was the case here, he also had a second place in a stage at the Tour de France - however with no win taken to his name. It was his Grand Tour debut, and ideal preparation for the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, where he finished 4th at the end of a chaotic race. He would go on to finish the season strong aswell, riding to second place at the European Championships only behind Peter Sagan.
2017 would see his first World Tour win at Paris-Nice as he soared to victory in a difficult hilly time-trial. He finished the race in 5th place overall, and went on to crack the podium at Milano-Sanremo soon after, having been in the winning move alongside Michal Kwiatkowski and Peter Sagan. A knee injury took him out of the classics, but he set his sights onto the final months of the season where he had several goals. First the Vuelta a Espana, where he won the 8th stage to Xorret de Catí, his first Grand Tour win. The World Championships in Bergen followed, where he attacked the final ascent to Salmon Hill and was only caught inside the final kilometer, finishing 10th. Two weeks after at Il Lombardia he finished second behind only Vincenzo Nibali once again nearing a monument win, and finished the year with a 4th place at the Tour of Guangxi.
In 2018 he opened his tab early on with a win at Colombia Oro y Paz, but targeted the classics. He hit his best form at Itzulia Basque Country where he won the opening two stages, and after several near-misses, he finally managed to be victorious at Flèche Wallone. A 7th at Amstel Gold Race and 4th at Liège-Bastogne-Liège culminated the spring. He would go on to win a stage at the Critérium du Dauphiné, and then follow that up with two wins from breakaways on mountainous days at the Tour de France. He immediately jumped from the Tour into the Clasica San Sebastian for another strong triumph.
2018 then had him win the Tour of Britain with a stage win in the bank, and repeating the same feat at the Okolo Slovenska (Tour of Slovakia). He was a prime contender for the World Championships in Innsbruck, but struggled with the amount of climbing present and would only finish 8th. In 2019 Alaphilippe travelled back to South America to start his season, with two wins at the Vuelta a San Juan and won at the Colombia 2.1, having led both races. He returned to Europe to race Strade Bianche, successfully as he took the win after a close battle with Jakob Fuglsang. It was to be a magical spring for the Frenchman, taking two wins the week after at Tirreno-Adriatico, and then win the reduced group sprint to win Milano-Sanremo.
He travelled to Itzulia Basque Country where he won another stage, and revalidated his title at Flèche Wallone - with 4th at Amstel Gold Race and 2nd at Brabantse Pijl additionally. What followed was a win at the Critérium du Dauphiné and a Tour de France for the ages, where he won the 3rd stage to Épernay and took on the yellow jersey. Reminiscent of his compatriot Thomas Voeckler several years before, he would go on to surpass everyone's expectations in the mountains, surviving through the many mountain stages of the Massif Central, Pyrenees and the first day in the Alps, having a win in yellow at the stage 13 time-trial aswell. Alaphilippe would lose his lead only on the 19th stage over the Col du Galibier, and cracked down into 5th position in the final summit finish to Val Thorens.
It would be difficult to back up the 2019 results. In 2020 Alaphilippe had a calmer start to the season, with the Covid-19 pandemic postponing the spring classics. He would restart the calendar and finish second in Milano-Sanremo beaten by Wout van Aert, but at the Tour de France he would enter the race full-on and win the 2nd stage into Nice, taking on the yellow jersey he would keep for a few days. It was a more modest Tour however, with the focus on what came after.
Alaphilippe started the Imola World Championships as a big favourite, and in the punchy circuit he confirmed his status by attacking and distancing the competition, and riding into the rainbow jersey. The weekend after he would go on to almost sprint to the win at Liège-Bastogne-Liège under very similar circumstances, however an early celebration saw him being overtaken by Primoz Roglic at the line, and due to a sketchy sprint he was relegated to 5th. He would win Brabantse Pijl three days later, and was in the fight for the win of the Tour des Flandres in October when he hit a motorcycle and had to abandon the race.
His talent in the Flandrien cobbled classics proven, it was a goal for his 2021 spring. He would ride into 2nd at Strade Bianche and win a stage at Tirreno-Adriatico showing form in his traditional calendar, but could not contest the same results again in Flandres. It wasn't to be a disappointing spring however, as he won Fléche Wallone for a third time, but was outsprinted by Tadej Pogacar at Liège-Bastogne-Liège days later. The Tour de France was a big goal naturally, and Alaphilippe attacked to the win on the opening stage to Landerneau, taking a very strong stage win and yellow jersey on the opening day.
From there on he would build his World Championships defense. He finished 6th at Clasica San Sebastian, 2nd at Bretagne Classic, 3rd at the Tour of Britain, but in Leuven he struck gold once again, riding a very aggressive race in he punchy urban final circuit, conquering his second consecutive World Championships. He finished 6th at Il Lombardia to conclude the season. 2022 was to be a very complicated season however, marked mostly by bad luck.
He would finish 2nd at the Tour de la Provence showing early-season form, but crashed spectacularly at Strade Bianche which saw him missing out on a result. He could not perform at Tirreno-Adriatico soon after, but did win a stage at Itzulia Basque Country. He finished 4th at Flèche Wallone, but sustained two broken ribs, scapula and a pneumothorax as he crashed into a ditch at Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Because of this, he couldn't recover in time to be selected to the Tour de France. He would return and win the opening stage of the Tour de Wallonie, but test positive for Covid-19 2 days after. His Vuelta a Espana preparation was also undermined, but he supported Remco Evenepoel throughout the first 11 days as he looked to build form. However his luck would not improve, as he crashed and dislocated his shoulder on stage 11. The build-up of illnesses and injuries saw him finish the season in relatively absent terms, as his teammate Evenepoel kept the rainbow jersey within the team.
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