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Worlds in Australia: Green light for Alaphilip

Worlds in Australia: Green light for Alaphilip

French sprinter Julien Alaphilippe (C), the defending world champion, during the French Championships in Solette on June 26, 2022 (Damien Mayer/AFP/Archives)

Green light for Julien Alaphilippe: The reigning double world champion, dogged by bad luck this season, is indeed part of the French team for the world road cycling championships in Australia, coach Thomas Vogler announced on Tuesday.

Romain Bardet, Christophe Laporte, Valentin Madovas, Quentin Bacher, Florian Senechal, Pavel Sivakov, Rémi Cavagna and Bruno Armiraile join him in selection for the September 25 road race in Wollongong. The latter two will also compete in Sunday’s time trial.

David Gaudu, fourth in the Tour de France, Benoit Gasnefroy, winner of Friday’s Quebec GP, sprinter Arnaud Demarre, Guillaume Martin and Thibaut Pinot were absent.

Julian Alaphilippe, 30, has not raced since August 31 and retired after a fall on stage 11 of the Tour of Spain that left him with a dislocated right shoulder.

However, there is little doubt about his selection on paper, as the French team has been allocated a spot regardless of the eight riders who qualify. So Thomas Vogler doesn’t have to choose between himself and another.

But his choice also acknowledges the fact that he was able to resume training quickly after retiring from the Vuelta, buoyed by the prospect of defending his rainbow jersey over the 266.9km route in Wollongong on Australia’s east coast. Qualities like a puncture.

What shape?

French cycling champion Julien Alaphilippe during the Treno Adriatico, Italy on March 11, 2022.
French cycling champion Julien Alaphilippe during the Treno Adriatico, Italy on March 11, 2022 (Luca Bettini/AFP/Archive)

If Alaphilippe does indeed participate in the road race, there will be nine Frenchmen at the start. If ever he had to drop out because he wasn’t ready, there would be eight of them like the other big cycling nations.

Above all, the state of form of the 30-year-old runner, who has lived through a terrible season, has “seen more hospitals than he has done races”, in the words of his manager. -By Patrick Lefebvre.

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Alaphilip first fell violently during the Strate Bianche in Tuscany in early March and then suffered bronchitis, which forced him to miss Milan-Sanremo and the Tour of Flanders. On April 24, during the Liège-Bastogne-Liège, he suffered a heavy blow of fate: a spectacular fall and a terrible shock against a tree. The assessment revealed a pneumothorax, two broken ribs and a fracture of the shoulder blade, which required prolonged hospital treatment followed by a long absence.

Recovered, he was not retained by his team for the Tour de France and then fell ill again with Covid in late July. “A series of me…”, he commented at the end of July, summing up his season.

Patrick Lefebvre considered his French rider’s participation at the worlds “dangerous” and he wanted to focus on the season’s last classic Tour of Lombardy on October 8.

Other cards

Julian Alaphilippe during his victory at the 2021 World Championships in Leuven, Belgium on September 26, 2021.
Julien Alaphilippe during his victory at the 2021 World Championships in Leuven, Belgium on September 26, 2021 (KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / AFP/Archives)

But Alaphilippe, who arrived at the Belgian team’s racetrack in Wevelgem on Friday to collect his equipment, is keen to defend his title, which he won at the Imola circuit (Italy) in 2020 and defended with panache in Louvain, Belgium, in 2021.

He will fly to Australia on Sunday along with seven other players who only competed in the road race. Cavagna and Armire left last Sunday with the coach.

On the demanding Wollongong circuit course, “Alaf” will be supported by two quick-step teammates, Florian Sénéchal and Rémi Cavagna.

He can also count on Christophe Laporte, the only French stage winner in this year’s Tour de France and the pilot fished out top Belgian favorite Vaud van Aert in the Jumbo-Wizma. Romain Bardet (DSM) will be another card to play on a hilly course, as will Valentin Madovas (Groupama-FTJ) who will excel at the Tour.

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Romain Bardet during the 17th stage of the Tour de France between Saint-Gaudens and Peyraguts (South) on July 20, 2022
Romain Bardet during the 17th stage of the Tour de France between Saint-Gaudens and Peyraguts (South) on July 20, 2022 (Marco Bertorello / AFP/Archives)

Finally, consider first-choice Pavel Sivakov, who grew up in Haute-Garonne and played under the Russian banner before gaining French sporting nationality in March.

Among the women, Aude Biannic, Audrey Cordon-Ragot, Corali Demay, Juliette Labous, Marie Le Net, Evita Muzic and Gladys Verhulst have been selected for the online event on Saturday 24 September. Labous and Le Net will also compete in this Sunday’s time trial.