Julian Alaphilippe reveals his key objective for Tour de France 2021

The world champion comes to the Tour in good form after an entertaining showing at the Tour de Suisse

Julian Alaphilippe on the attack on stage two of the Tour de Suisse 2021
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Julian Alaphilippe is heading to the 2021 Tour de France with a spring in his step after some strong displays in his return to racing at the Tour de Suisse last week.

The world champion did not manage a stage win but that was partly due to the imperious form of Dutch champion Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), however, Alaphilippe (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) did show he has good form in the legs in time for the Tour.

Alaphilippe is something of an unknown coming into a Tour, over the past two years he has said he will just be looking for stages, but in 2019 he almost won the general classification, while he also had a stint in yellow at the 2020 edition of the race too.

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It seems that his objectives are no different coming into the 2021 race, where he says a stage victory in the rainbow jersey will be his priority.

"The main goal at the Tour will be to get a stage victory," Alaphilippe said. "To raise my hands there, at the biggest race in the world, with the world champion jersey on my shoulders, would be something really special. 

"The first week is going to be an important one, with several opportunities. We will give our best there, as we always do. A successful Tour for me would be a beautiful victory and to show some good things together with the team."

The French star will be coming into the race as the main leader away from the sprints with Deceuninck - Quick-Step likely opting for Sam Bennett for the faster days, despite his recent knee injury and Mark Cavendish waiting in the wings for a call.

It has been a tougher season in 2021 for Alaphilippe though. He hasn't been the unstoppable force we've seen the last few years with injury and illness playing big parts in that.

"It has been very special so far with the World Champion jersey on my shoulders," he said, explaining he had trouble finding his form after a good Tour de la Provence in February. 

"I was there, but I had a hard time searching for victories, that was a bit more difficult. Still, it didn’t take anything from how special racing in this jersey feels. My victory at Flèche Wallonne was one that I will never forget. Also, at Liège, I wasn’t far from the win, and while it would have been nice to take the victory there as well, I can still be happy with the Ardennes Classics campaign I had."

The next race for Alaphilippe is the French National Championship road race where he will be aiming to add the national jersey to his glittering collection of achievements.

This is his first race since becoming a father last week, something he described as "truly special."

"It’s a unique emotion that gives you a lot of energy," Alaphilippe said. "Now I’ll be heading to the Tour in just a couple of days, so I won’t have a lot of time to spend at home, but I can say it’s the best moment in my life."

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.