Quick-Step Floors’ Julian Alaphilippe has pulled out of Il Lombardia due to fatigue after a long and successful season.
The Frenchman, who was one of the pre-race favourites, said exhaustion has set in after the World Championships in Innsbruck and has ended his season a few days early.
Speaking with French newspaper L’Equipe Alaphilippe, who finished second in the final Monument of the season last year, said: “I felt really tired after the Worlds.
“Despite the fact that I would have loved to ride in Italy this week, especially during the Tour of Lombardy that I finished second in last year, this is the right decision to take.”
The 26-year-old’s has ridden a fantastic season , picking up 12 wins between February and September.
His season started strong with a win on stage four of the Colombia Oro y Paz in the early season.
This was followed up by a double stage win in the Tour of the Basque Country on stages one and two.
Alaphilippe continued his winning form into the spring Classics, taking the top step in La Flèche Wallone in April.
His biggest victories came in the summer, as the Frenchman won stage four of the Critérium du Dauphiné. This was quickly followed by two stages of the Tour de France and the polkadot jersey in Paris.
Carrying his outstanding form from the Tour, Alaphilippe won the Bristol stage of the Tour of Britain and was strong enough on the Whinlatter Pass queen stage to secure the overall win in September.
Less than two weeks later he took on the Tour of Slovenia, winning the first road stage after the prologue and securing another general classification victory.
Alaphilippe went into the World Championship road race as one of the big favourites for the rainbow stripes.
As his climbing rivals slipped away over the brutal day’s racing in Innsbruck, the Frenchman kept himself in contention and out of trouble.
But the final savage climb proved too severe even for Alaphilippe, who was dropped as the winning group went clear.
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) took the win that day as the best man out of a four-up sprint.
But Alaphilippe was able to grind over the final climb of the day and finish in eighth – another strong performance.
The slew of wins for Alaphilippe have now taken their toll, and the Quick-Step rider says he will take some time to rest before preparing for next season.