Julian Alaphilippe plays down Ardennes Classics breakthrough

Despite two runners-up spots at Flèche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe says his performances weren't exceptional

Julian Alaphilippe and Bernard Hinault at the 2015 Liege-Bastogne-Liege (Watson)
(Image credit: Watson)

With two second-place finishes, Julian Alaphilippe was one of the standout performers of the Ardennes Classics, but the 22-year-old is playing down his performances.

The Frenchman, the latest prodigy off the Etixx-Quick-Step production line, was runner-up to Alejandro Valverde at both Flèche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

But Alaphilippe admits he still has a lot to learn about racing the one-day Classics and admitted the strongest rider won on both occasions.

"I'm a little frustrated by this second second place," he told Sporza.

"I am satisfied with my condition, but I would not call my performance exceptional. Today I learned that I still need to have some patience and that I still have some work to close the gap with the best riders."

"I still miss some experience and strength compared winner Valverde. Liège-Bastogne-Liège is a race where you need to experience. This was my first participation, but I would like to return.”

>>> Five things we learned from the Ardennes Classics

Alaphilippe notched up Etixx-Quick-Step’s sixth and seventh runners-up spots in the Classics this season, with the Belgian team getting the top spot at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, Strade Bianche and the Amstel Gold Race.

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Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.