Julian Alaphilippe would be the first Frenchman to keep the jersey

Published on , updated

At the beginning of autumn, a gray, humid, a little sad sky hangs over the Concha. After an unpredictable race and a bizarre last kilometer, Laurent Brochard exploded with joy, beating the Danish Hamburger and the Dutch Van Bon. While the whole country awaits the Tarnais Laurent Jalabert or the Varois Richard Virenque, France wins with a Sarthois who left in the breakaway thinking of his leaders. The surprise does not reach the level of those of the Dutch Thomas Middlekamp (Reims 1927) and Harm Ottenbros (Zolder 1969) or that, to come, of the Spaniard Igor Astarloa (Hamilton 2003), but the winner of the stage of Val-Louron (the 11 previous July) was not expected so high on the podium. At the time, the Festina did not refuse anything.

Before the unforgettable coronation of Julian Alaphilippe a year ago in the closed door of Imola, all French people had failed to succeed Manceau. Twenty-three years, almost a quarter of a century, the longest crossing of the rainbow desert for our country.

Alaphilippe: “I wouldn’t mind…”

The Blues remain on the historic podium of the event but with nine victories (1), they roll very far from the Italians (15 success) and Belgians (23) who welcome the planetary elite, in Flanders.

Since the creation of the Mondial (the UCI celebrates the centenary this year, but too few professionals have had to wait 1927 to receive their invitation), no Frenchman has managed to win twice, and therefore none has been able to keep their property. The Landais André Darrigade, the oldest of the champions, did not go far in 1947, but Rik Van Looy was ahead of him at the Sachsenring in Germany

Julian Alaphilippe could therefore be the first this weekend on the Flemish roads he knows well. The duo Van Aert-Evenepoel seems scary but the long series of the Mondial is too rich in twists and turns to rule out the hypothesis of a new success of Berrichon d’Andorra, author, whether we like it or not, d ‘a beautiful campaign 2021 (Flèche Wallonne, first stage and yellow jersey of the Tour, 2nd in Liège at Strade Bianche and at Plouay…)

“It’s true, it’s more difficult to win with this jersey on your back, admits the insatiable attacker of the Wolfpack, but I wouldn’t mind keeping him for another season…”

A group to go into battle

Around him , Thomas Voeckler has built a close guard as he likes them, with a few unexpected tickets (Clément Russo and Arnaud Démare in a role of team member), relatives of Loulou (Florian Sénéchal recent winner of the Primus Classic, Rémi Cavagna), the best of the moment (Benoît Cosnefroy who beat him on the Bretagne Classic, V entourin Madouas, Christophe Laporte, recent winner of the Circuit de Wallonie and future Jumbo-Visma) plus a real flahute specialist, Anthony Turgis. A group ready to go into battle. To include Arnaud Démare, Voeckler sacrificed Olivier Le Gac whose selection was “promised”. They say that the replacements take part in the great triumphs… The Breton will need a little time to be convinced of it.

Back to top button