Julian Alaphilippe reluctant to only focus on Tour de France in 2022: 'Sacrificing everything to aim for the Tour, I don't want to'

The Frenchman can't only focus on the Tour de France when he also dreams of winning Monument races as well

Julian Alaphilippe Tour de France
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Julian Alaphilippe has downplayed the idea of winning the Tour de France heading into next season, despite his desire to become the first Frenchman to win the Tour since Bernard Hinault in 1985.

Speaking to RMC Radio, the 29-year-old revealed that he hasn't decided on how he'll approach the Tour yet, claiming that he needs to understand the route better before he can set himself clearer objectives. 

Alaphilippe said: "So much can happen in the first week and in the first part of the Tour. It's hard to predict a script and it's something that I really like. When I say that, I don't mean the overall standings. I'm just thinking about making good stages and trying to win. A lot of things are going to happen and that will make the Tour interesting, I hope so. 

"That's what I mean when I explain that I like the Tour route. There are also very difficult stages with the high mountains which will be very complicated. I'm not making too many plans yet. I will wait to recognise certain stages before going to set myself clearer objectives."

The Frenchman won the mountains classification in 2018, as well as six stages in the Tour since his debut in 2016. However, he has suggested that while the yellow jersey win is the ultimate dream, he can't completely disregard any of the other races on the calendar.

"Obviously, people are expecting a next winner of the Tour de France who is French. It would be good and for us too. For French cycling, after so many years, that would be great. I also dream of doing it. But we must not forget that the seasons are long. There are also other races even if the Tour de France is above all else. I also want to be 100 per cent efficient on the Classics.

"Races make me dream, like other Monuments that I dream of winning. There are plenty of things to do. These are different things than racing to win the Tour de France. I am not even able to answer the question of whether I am physically capable of it.

"This is why I do not take the lead too much. I stay focused on the goals I set for myself. If one day I feel that I want to take the start of the Tour de France with the ambition of trying to make the general classification, I will. I want to keep this little bit of uncertainty. This is what makes me want to move on. Sacrificing everything from next year to tell myself that I'm aiming for the Tour, I don't want to."

As a result, the Deceuninck–Quick-Step rider will focus on the Ardennes Classics without competing in the Tour of Flanders, claiming that it's difficult to stay in peak condition for both events. Entering the 2022 season as the world champion, Alaphilippe's decision is a measured one that he hopes will provide him with the best opportunity to win races throughout the season.

While he is taking a tactical approach to the season though, the Frenchman is still keeping his cards close to his chest on his chances for the most coveted prize of all.

"What will change for the first part of the next season is that I will stay focused on the Ardennes Classics," he said. 

"They’re the races that suit me best. Even though I loved discovering the Tour of Flanders, it is a race that I will come back to do at 100 per cent when I’m ready to give my all to go for victory. Next year I will focus on the Ardennes. Then the Tour de France will follow quickly, and we will see."