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Alaphilippe, In Praise of Folly

16/05/2024

There is no great genius without a healthy dose of madness, and Julian Alaphilippe is a great cycling genius. His palmares is there to prove it, with two world championships, a Milano-Sanremo, a Strade Bianche and stages in all three Grand Tours to stand out among his 42 professional victories. And then there is that healthy bit of insanity, that instinct to follow the heart rather than the brain, thanks to which he has become one of the most loved riders in the world.

Today he gave us a taste of that by attacking with 125 km to go alongside Mirco Maestri (Team Polti Kometa). It seemed like a gamble, given that the day’s breakaway was finally forming after 70 km of tussle. But this time he was right, the Frenchman managed to wind back the clock and cross the Fano finish line alone, cheered on by two wings of the crowd, in what is his first success on the Giro d’Italia, at his first participation.

“A rebirth? I had never left”. It had been a complicated start to the season and a tough couple of years for Alaphilippe, in which he had achieved only one podium and had been publicly questioned by his own team director. Julian never flinched, he waited for his moment with grace and came to the Corsa Rosa with the hunger of a neo-professional.

In recent days he had tried over and over again to win a stage, in his own way, with often haphazard strategies. Today seemed like another one of those days, but instead, he rode to perfection for 125 km, and on the last climb of Monte Giove, he dropped his partner Maestri and resisted the return of Jhonatan Narvaez, Quinten Hermans, Michael Valgren and Chrstian Scaroni.

Alaphilippe joins the small circle of riders who have won in all three Grand Tours, but we’re sure he isn’t going to stop there, this guy still wants to entertain us, because that’s the way of the champions. So, LouLou, we can’t wait for your next, crazy, attack! Chapeau!

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