Julian Alaphilippe says losing the rainbow jersey would have been 'a certain form of relief'

The French star stormed to an amazing second world title in a row on the roads of Leuven

Julian Alaphilippe
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Julian Alaphilippe said that if he had lost his rainbow jersey at the World Championships it would have been "a certain form of relief," as he felt the pressure to perform in the stripes this season.

The Deceuninck - Quick-Step rider was clearly the strongest rider in the race around the town of Leuven and the hills of Flanders as he put in wave after wave of attacks throughout the last 40km.

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Speaking to l'Equipe, Alaphilippe said: "Without being defeatist, I was prepared to lose the jersey,

"I also know what it cost me. It took up a lot of energy. It made me make some mistakes sometimes, through my impatience to win, by wanting to show the jersey all the time, to honour it, to make it shine as best I could. It took a lot out of me, and it was also a lot of pressure that I put on myself."

Alaphilippe has been consistent as ever this season, with solid early form including podium in Strade Bianche, a win in Tirreno-Adriatico before heading to the Classics where he won Flèche Wallone.

After it was onto the Tour de Suisse which he abandoned to be with his wife as she was giving birth to their first child. He then started the Tour de France, winning the opening stage and taking yellow, after that he went to the Tour of Britain, coming third over

“So I said to myself," continued Alaphilippe. ‘We’re coming here to win, but if I lose the jersey, it will also be a certain form of relief.

"But at the same time, I was starting a race and I wanted to win it. So you go for the jersey: it's for history, the most beautiful jersey in cycling. And so you go for it. It’s hard to describe."

Alaphilippe went on to say that racing in the French jersey without the rainbow bands liberated him: "It's hard to explain, but I was much more relaxed,"

The Frenchman is currently down to race the final Monument of the year in Il Lombardia on Saturday, October 9 where he will race in the rainbow bands once again.

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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.