Julian Alaphilippe selected to defend title at World Championships

The Frenchman's condition was in doubt after he abandoned the Vuelta a España

Julian Alaphilippe in the rainbow jersey.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Julian Alaphilippe has been selected to represent France at the World Championships later this month, following concerns he would be unable to compete due to injury. 

The reigning world champion abandoned the Vuelta a España less than two weeks ago after he suffered a dislocated shoulder in a crash on stage 11. He has since been cleared to defend his rainbow jersey, and will join Romain Bardet, Christophe Laporte, Valentin Madouas, Quentin Pacher, Florian Sénéchal, Pavel Sivakov, Rémi Cavagna and Bruno Armirail in the French squad for the event.

Following his withdrawal from the Vuelta, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl issued a medical update outlining that Alaphilippe had been permitted to resume training on rollers immediately. 

“Should the movement and the pain be manageable, he then should be able to start full training in the not-too-distant future,” the statement continued.

However, the Frenchman’s Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team boss Patrick Lefevere recently advised his rider against racing at the Worlds. 

“He wants to risk it, but I don’t think it’s that smart,” Lefevere said in an interview with Sporza. “If I had been him, I would have let the World Championships pass me by and put everything on the Italian races. But I understand the pressure of – what I will call – French politics. 

“I don’t pay him to ride for the French team. Becoming world champion is nice, but I’d rather have him race in our jersey."

Victory in Wollongong would see Alaphilippe join Peter Sagan as the only other rider to win three consecutive titles in the men’s elite road race. It would also add a silver lining on what has been a difficult year for the Frenchman. 

In April, Alaphilippe was hospitalised after hitting a tree at high speed during Liège-Bastogne-Liège. A statement from Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl confirmed that the Frenchman had suffered two broken ribs, a broken scapula and a punctured lung, which left him sidelined for two months. 

Within a month of his return, the 30-year-old won the opening stage of the Tour de Wallonie, before having to withdraw from the race with Covid-19. 

While he has been selected to compete in Wollongong, there are a number of notable omissions from France's squad, namely David Gaudu, Thibaut Pinot, Arnaud Démare and Benoît Cosnefroy, the latter of whom recently claimed victory in the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec. 

The men’s road race will close out this year’s World Championships, taking place on Sunday 25 September. 

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