The redemption of Julian Alaphilippe, winner of the three grand tours after a crazy bet: “The team asked me to get up but I said no”

A tactic that seemed suicidal at first glance. But the two men worked together perfectly, making the return of the second group of strong men (with Narvaez and Hermans, in particular) impossible. And in the last difficulty of the day, and its passages at more than 20%, an exceptional Alapahilippe (31 years old) went alone towards the 42nd victory of his career, won with the experience and talent of the double champion of world that it is.

Julian Alaphilippe completes a 125 kilometer number and wins the 12th stage of the Giro

The 108th stage winner over the three grand tours

A special victory in many ways. By crossing the line, the Frenchman became the 108th rider to win a stage on the three grand tours (Giro, Tour de France, Vuelta). But he also and above all put an end to 346 days of doubt, he who had not raised his arms since the second stage of the Dauphiné 2023. Since then, everything seemed to go wrong for him, between disappointments on the bike, falls, injuries (he competed in the Flandriennes with a small fracture in his knee) And clashes with Patrick Lefevere. But he brushed all that aside.

“I waited a long time for this victory and I think it is deserved”, explained, moved, the one who had checked off this step a long time ago. On Tuesday, he even got up while he was in the breakaway to save energy for his D-day. A gamble that paid off. “I'did everything to be at the front and when we found ourselves two, we didn't calculate too much, despite the fact that Davide Bramati (Editor’s note: in the car) asked me to get up. But I said no because I was having a big day. And Maestri followed me. He would have deserved to win because he was incredible. Thanks to him, I realized my dream of winning the Giro. I think of my wife (Marion Redhead) and to my son, who supported me. I missed Nino's first days of school but it's not for nothing. I will be able to bring him a nice medal. And not a chocolate medal this time.”


Spending the day out front with Julian was wonderful. I feel like I won.

The chocolate medal ultimately went to Maestri, 9th at the finish. But the Italian had the eyes of a kid when talking about his admiration for Alaphilippe. “It was the hardest and most beautiful day of my lifehe explained. Julian is, with Peter Sagan, the runner I respect the most. Spending a day out front with him was wonderful, I feel like I won too.”

He made the whole peloton happy

Maestri was not the only one to be very happy with the victory of the Frenchman, who was very popular within the peloton, as the numerous accolades he received proved. Even Tadej Pogacar could not hide his admiration. “Julian showed that he is still one of the best runners. He drove crazyindicated the Slovenian, still in pink despite the Bahrain-Victorious formation's attempt to edge in the final. A lot of people criticized him but he was impressive today. We saw the Alaphilippe that everyone wants to see.”


We saw the Alaphilippe that everyone loves. He drove crazy.

Within the Wolfpack too, the joy was inevitably immense. Arriving in a gruppetto 13 minutes behind his teammate, Tim Merlier even raised his arms when crossing the line. And all the Soudal Quick-Step runners had the banana. “It's crazy to have done so many kilometers ahead. Loulou has always remained optimistic and professional despite the most complicated times,” explained an admiring Mauri Vansevenant. “He showed that he was a true warrior”, indicated for his part sports director Geert Van Bondt. But beyond the relief, this victory is perhaps the beginning of the return to grace of Julian Alaphilippe, very strong during this Giro.

To the point that the Frenchman, at the end of his contract, is extending his adventure within Patrick Lefevere's team, with whom relations have been strained in recent months? “We’re going to sit down at the table”, the manager of Soudal Quick-Step made no secret recently. One thing is certain: his rider has just given him solid arguments.

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