'Not much is missing': Julian Alaphilippe says he's close to peak fitness for World Championship defence

The current world champion put in an incredible effort on the Great Orme at the Tour of Britain

Julian Alaphilippe after finishing stage four of the 2021 Tour of Britain
(Image credit: SW Pix)

Julian Alaphilippe has said that there is "not much missing" from his form as he is close to hitting peak fitness with his World Championships defence looming.

Alaphilippe (Deceuninck - Quick-Step), put in an exceptional ride on the final climb of the fourth stage of the Tour of Britain, almost dropping Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma). 

But unfortunately for him, Van Aert held on and went on to out-sprint the Frenchman, which also put him back into the blue leader's jersey.

>>> Wout van Aert hails 'special finish' on Great Orme at Tour of Britain after beating Julian Alaphilippe

The 29-year-old Alaphilippe posted to Instagram and said: "Not much is missing but it's encouraging for the future. Fire in the legs for the end of the season, it will pay off."

Alaphilippe tried a big attack on the steepest gradients of the Great Orme climb in Llandudno, with Canadian Michael Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation) looking like he could easily follow with Van Aert just about clinging on.

After the gradient slackened dramatically, Van Aert was able to catch his breath and find his legs again as he looked to keep the then leader's jersey, Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers), out the back.

The Brit made it back but dragged Alaphilippe's team-mate, Mikkel Honoré, across who upped the pace, leading out Alaphilippe who was pipped on the line by Van Aert.

Deceuninck - Quick-Step sports director, Geert Van Bondt said "We did what we had to do, what we talked about before the start: we controlled the race, remained attentive and went on the offensive at the right moment, but another guy was stronger in the end. 

"Despite missing out on the win, we’ll keep fighting. We have the rainbow jersey on the team, he always display panache and we will continue to race accordingly, until the end, in the remaining stages"

Stage five of the Tour of Britain takes the riders back into England with an all Cheshire stage starting in Alderley Park and finishing in Warrington for a likely bunch sprint. However, some early climbs could cause difficulty.

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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.