Julian Alaphilippe will be on the trip to Australia. The reigning double world champion of the road race has been retained in the French selection for the World Road Cycling Championships in Wollongong, a hundred kilometers south of Sydney, said Thomas Voeckler, the national coach, on Tuesday. September 13.
Romain Bardet, Christophe Laporte, Valentin Madouas, Quentin Pacher, Florian Sénéchal, Pavel Sivakov, Rémi Cavagna and Bruno Armirail complete the French delegation, which will be at the start of the road race on September 25. The last two will also compete in the time trial, which will take place on September 18.
Among the main absentees are David Gaudu, fourth in the Tour de France, Benoît Cosnefroy, winner of the Grand Prix de Québec last Friday, sprinter Arnaud Démare, Guillaume Martin and Thibaut Pinot.
Place reserved for the world champion
Julian Alaphilippe, 30, has not raced since August 31 and his retirement from a fall during the 11e stage of the Tour of Spain, which he left with a dislocated right shoulder.
On paper, however, his presence was hardly in doubt, insofar as a place is reserved for the reigning world champion regardless of the quota of eight riders to which the French team is entitled. Thomas Voeckler therefore did not have to choose between himself and another.
But his selection also acknowledges the fact that he was able to quickly resume training after leaving Vuelta, motivated by the prospect of defending his rainbow jersey on a 266.9 km course cut for his qualities. of puncher.
Above all, it remains to know the state of form of the runner, who lived a nightmarish season during which he will have “saw more hospitals than he did races”in the words of his manager in the Belgian band Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, Patrick Lefevere.
“A sequence of m…”
Julian Alaphilippe first fell violently during the Strade Bianche, at the beginning of March, in Tuscany, then suffered from bronchitis, which forced him to forfeit Milan-Sanremo and the Tour of Flanders.
But it’s April 24 during Liège-Bastogne-Liège that he suffered the hardest blow of fate: an impressive fall which left him in the ditch. Assessment, a pneumothorax, two broken ribs and a fracture to a shoulder blade, which required a long hospitalization, then a prolonged absence.
Restored, he was not retained by his team for the Tour de France and was then again hit quite severely by Covid-19 at the end of July. “A sequence of m…”he commented at the end of July to sum up his season.
Patrick Lefevere had also judged “risky” the Frenchman’s participation in the Worlds and would have preferred him to focus on the Tour of Lombardy, the last classic of the season, on October 8.
But its rider is keen to defend his title, won in 2020 on the circuit of Imola, in Italy, and defended with panache in 2021 in Leuven, in Belgium. He will fly to Australia on Sunday, with the other seven riders engaged only in the road race.