Julian Alaphilippe abandons first race of the year

The French superstar wasn’t able to repeat his stunning performance from the 2019 Vuelta a San Juan

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Julian Alaphilippe has been forced to abandon his first race of the race, the Vuelta a San Juan.

The French superstar had a glowing performance in the 2019 edition of the race, winning two stages and finishing second overall.

But it wasn’t to be for the Deceuninck – Quick-Step puncheur this year, as he has been taken out of the race after suffering from stomach problems ahead of stage three.

Alaphilippe won’t be taking to the start of the stage three time trial after winning the ITT convincingly last year.

Quick-Step announced in a tweet on Tuesday (January 28): “Sadly, due to stomach problems, Julian Alaphilippe is forced to abandon the Vuelta a San Juan and won’t be at the start of today’s TT.

“We wish him a speedy recovery.”

Alaphilippe is following the same season build-up to last year, starting in Argentina before he moves onto the Tour Colombia 2.1 early next month before moving onto his major goals for the year.

The Vuelta a San Juan has proved a popular-early season testing ground for some of the biggest names in cycling, as Alaphilippe is joined by his team-mate Remco Evenpoel, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) racing south of the Equator.

Vuelta a San Juan is a 2.Pro seven-stage race around the San Juan province in western Argentina.

>>> ‘Better than last year? Impossible’: Julian Alaphilippe, a rider with the world at his feet 

The opening stage was taken by Israel Start-Up Nation’s Rudy Barbier in a chaotic sprint finish, while stage two went to Gaviria in a pure sprinter’s drag race to the line.

But both stages have been marred by avoidable crashes, after a spectator caused a huge collision on the opening day.

A dog then caused a fall among the breakaway when running across the road on day two.

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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.