Tour de France: 'He races on emotion' says Lefevere of Alaphilippe
09 July 2019 04:40
"Cycling wouldn't be what it is if we didn't have riders like Julian, who race on emotion," said Deceuninck-QuickStep manager Patrick Lefevere following Julian Alaphilippe's win on stage 3 of the Tour de France in Epernay on Monday – which was enough to also take the yellow jersey. Alaphilippe is enjoying his best season yet – already, at this point of the year, more successful than his breakout 2018 season, when his wins included Flèche Wallonne, the Clasica San Sebastian and two stages at the Tour. This year, the Frenchman's victories already include Strade Bianche, Milan-San Remo and a second Flèche. Now, just three days into the 2019 Tour, he has another stage win, and cycling's ultimate prize on his shoulders. Additionally, Lefevere recently persuaded the 27-year-old to re-sign for another two years with the team he joined in 2014. With interest from a number of other WorldTour teams, including the likes of Team Ineos, Monday's successes appear to demonstrate that it was the best decision for both Alaphilippe and Lefevere.ADVERTISEMENT "What's fabulous about him is his ability to listen," Lefevere said in an interview with L'Equipe on Monday after the stage. "He used to be nervous, but now he rides a lot more calmly. He used to have trouble concentrating towards the end of a race, but he now controls himself perfectly. "He now knows how to win a race, but it would be a lie to say that we imagined he would win like this today," he continued. "It wasn't only his attack on the Côte de Mutigny that was amazing, but also the way he was able to stay out on his own for 15 kilometres while being chased by a dozen riders – and not just any riders – who all also wanted to win. Not everyone could do what he did. "He grew up with us," said Lefevere. "He's made progress every year since he joined the team six years ago, which is why we've repeatedly renewed his contract. If we hadn't believed in him, we'd never have kept him. But it would also be very pretentious of me to say that we'd always known that his career would go in the direction that it has."
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