Julian Alaphilippe expects a “quite special” race on the Classic of the Ardeche on Saturday for his first in France since his yellow epic on the Tour de France and ensures not to be “disappointed with (s) provided “, even if he has not yet signed a success in 2020.
Do these races mark the start of your season after a frustrating South American tour?
It’s my first race in France so it’s quite special. My season started as it started, not necessarily in the best way (retirement on the Tour of San Juan). I was still able to work well in Colombia. I tried to recover as best I could when I got home and now I’m very motivated for the goals that are coming up. (…) I was going there to have a good week of racing, a good block of work. If I could win, I would have done it. I did my best and I was not disappointed with my condition.
With what ambitions do you come on the Loops whose route seems cut out for you?
These races were part of the options because I had to run between Colombia and Paris-Nice. It is really a format of races which suits me well, by their profile. For now, I’m just looking forward to putting on a bib, running again and really happy to be back in France. These are difficult races with steep climbs, both tomorrow (Saturday) and Sunday. I can’t wait to see how I feel. Even if for the past few days, I have not been feeling very well, I am a little tired, I was a little taken. (…) We will also have to brave the rain, it’s not what I appreciate the most. (…) It is the chain of difficulties and the weather especially that will make the difference for me. If I’m not well right from the start because of the cold and the rain, it won’t change much whether it’s 3,000 m of elevation gain or less. (…) I hope that this weekend will do me good to see a little where I am then Paris-Nice will be there soon.
Why choose to compete in the Tour of Flanders?
I have a slightly different program from what I used to do and I can’t wait to find out. If I asked (to change), it was because I felt the need and the team understood. I can’t wait to discover the Tour of Flanders, it’s really a race that makes you dream of being there for the first time, it’s great. No matter what will happen, it is a great challenge to go there when I could really focus 300% on the Ardennes (Amstel Gold Race, Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege) without being sure of it arrive. (I) want to win races that I haven’t won yet. Being on the Tour of Flanders that I have never done is special, a different approach.