Julian Alaphilippe returns to race. Again. The Frenchman has had a very difficult season, in which he had to miss the Tour de France. The puncher is preparing for the Vuelta a España, but that is not going smoothly for the time being.
After a heavy crash in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Alaphilippe returned to the French Championship. The feeling here was not great, leaving him at home for the Tour de France. At the end of July, the Frenchman won the first stage of the Tour de Wallonia, which seemed to mean the old Julian was back. He then tested positive for Covid-19. In an interview with The newspapaer let him know that the situation has not bothered him.
“I can’t deny that I had a hard time with this new setback,” says Alaphilippe. ‘That stage win in the Tour de Wallonia gave me the feeling that I was back on the right track. Less than a day later, I couldn’t move forward and tested positive for covid-19. And I was really sick of it too. The symptoms have disappeared, but the workouts I’ve completed in the meantime have been far from brilliant. I mainly trained for endurance and hardly any intensity. I want to race but I just don’t know where I am at the moment. I have a lot of questions that I want to find an answer to as soon as possible. I hope the setback leaves me alone for the rest of the season.”
Mental toughness is put to the test
His comeback is next Sunday in the Tour of Leuven, after which he goes to the Tour de l’Ain and the Vuelta a España. ‘I realize all too well that one year is not the next. The years follow one another but are never the same. I have had some top years, without too much setback and with brilliant results. I haven’t had too much tailwind this season. But that’s life and you have to accept it. Even for someone like me who can put things into perspective, it hasn’t always been easy. As a world champion you want to race and I haven’t been able to do that enough this year.’