Le Tour: Alaphilippe in the spotlight
A chaotic day in the Alps – the longest there at this edition – capped off a hard and spectacular second week of racing, and Julian Alaphilippe made sure of showing again the Soudal Quick-Step colours by attacking from kilometer zero despite the tough course ahead, which culminated with the Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc ascent (7km, 7.7%).
Alaphilippe was the first to show his intentions, and after being joined by Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Qazaqstan), he remained at the front for almost half the stage, until the slopes of the day’s second classified climb, in the meantime winning the Bluffy intermediate sprint. The 31-year-old tried to remain in the large group that soon formed once the chasers bridged across, but the effort he put in up until that point and the steep gradients spelled the end of his action. Eventually, it was one of the riders in that move, Wout Poels (Bahrain Victorious), who took the win on stage 15, while the general classification remained unchanged.
“I tried again. It was hard, but I am content. I had good legs in the beginning, so I went on the attack, but as the stage progressed, I had to let go of the break, despite giving my maximum. I have no regrets, because I did my best and had a lot of joy on the roads today. Things aren’t perfect when compared to the previous years, as I have high and lows, but I feel that I’m constantly improving compared to the opening weekend and I hope this will pay off at some point”, explained Soudal Quick-Step’s rider after his fourth day in the break at this edition.
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