The world champion, during the presentation of the Deceuninck Quick Step team, expressed his usual enthusiasm for drawing the contours of his year.
The video conference of the Deceuninck Quick Step team has, this Wednesday, been marked by two remarkable returns. That of Fabio Jakobsen, the Dutch sprinter victim of a terrible fall during the 1st stage of the Tour of Poland on August 5th. “He feels better every day, when we review the crash, we can only be happy to see him among us”, slips Julian Alaphilippe. And that of the British sprinter Mark Cavendish who left the Belgian team in 2015. “I had met him during my first professional year, I had spent a little time with him. He had a lot of experience, gave me some advice. I’m happy he’s back with us, ”says the Frenchman.
Julian Alaphilippe, world champion quickly found his marks in the leader’s costume: “I feel good. Happy to participate in training camp. Happy to be back. The Tour of Flanders (double fracture of the right hand after hitting a motorbike) is not a bad memory, apart from my crash. There was a good atmosphere in the team. I was excited by the discovery. I was ready, I was in good condition. I was happy with the race we did, the race I did. I am motivated to come back. ”
The aftereffects of the fall which had suddenly punctuated his season are still with him: “It’s going better than during the last camp, I continue to work but I still cannot sprint. I’m improving every day but still need a few more weeks. I hope it will be good for the cobbles… ”Because in 2021, his program will not change:“ On the big laps, it will be the same objectives. I will not ride the Tour de France for the general classification but you never know, as in 2019 (14 days in yellow) which was a good surprise. The goal is to be ready for the first part of the season with the classics, the second will concern the Tour and the Olympics, the Worlds and the rest will be for the third part. “
“It will be good to start with the iridescent jersey in France”
His return to school is scheduled for the Tour de La Provence (February 11-14): “You never know if you will be 100% by the time of the restart but it will be good to start with the iridescent jersey in France. I took part in the race a few years ago, I am very happy to start there. My goal is to rebuild good condition. After that there will be a big block of races. In the context of the health crisis, the races could be contested without an audience. Julian Alaphilippe assures us: “Everyone is in the same situation. We will be happy if the races are not canceled. You have to follow the rules. We are living through a difficult period with the Covid. It’s sad if there is no audience but it is like that for the moment. I hope the public can come back… ”
To accompany his rainbow year: “It does not put more pressure on me. I want to continue to perform. I want to take advantage of it, it only lasts a year, it passes very quickly. I want to do my job well, I am very motivated. “So the curse that sticks to the jersey, he sweeps it away with a smile … Julian Alaphilippe who stirs up envy attacks his last year of contract with Deceunick Quick Step with peace of mind:” To be honest, I do not think about it. I’m focused on the start of the season, on what to do. When the moment arrives, I will make the right decision… ”Asked about his participation in Paris-Roubaix, the queen of the classics dear to his team, Julian Alaphilippe confessed:“ I have never raced it. I would like to do it. At least once before the end of my career. It’s a historic race, a difficult race… ”