Julian Alaphilippe to skip Flèche Wallonne, should make rainbow jersey debut at Liège-Bastogne-Liège

The new world champion will wear the rainbow jersey at a number of 'spring Classics' this October

Julian Alaphilippe en route to winning the Imola 2020 Worlds road race (Yuzuru Sunada)
(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Julian Alaphilippe has chosen not to defend his Flèche Wallonne title, and will instead likely debut his rainbow jersey at Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

The Frenchman has said Flèche Wallonne, which takes place on Wednesday September 30, comes "too soon" after his road race exploits in Imola. Instead, he will look to line up for the first time as world champion days later on Sunday October 4 for Liège. The Monument has evaded Alaphilippe so far in his career and he's previously highlighted it as a key victory he wants to achieve this season.

"Wednesday is going to be too tight. I want to enjoy my victory and recover first," Alaphilippe told French radio station RMC. "I don't think I'll be riding Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday. It comes just a little too soon in terms of physical and emotional recovery. Defending my title may not be the best choice."

Tim Declerq will start in place of Alaphilippe, Deceuninck - Quick-Step have confirmed, and Alaphilippe will spend the week coming to terms with his achievement, the Frenchman visibly emotional on the podium after returning the rainbow jersey to France after a 23-year wait.

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Deceuninck - Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefevere said Alaphilippe had asked him after winning in Imola if he was proud of him.

"He was crying and asked 'are you proud of me?' He always asks me that if he wins," Lefevere told Sporza. "I am overjoyed. I have never seen so many men crying as I did today. The whole staff was here and there were also many emotional Italians amongst them.

"I love that rainbow jersey. In the end, we will get out of this s**t season that has been turned upside down by the coronavirus. Despite everything, we will soon be able to ride the Classics with the world champion in the team. That is a wonderful feeling."

"Of course it would be nice to start in the rainbow jersey, but I always race to win," Alaphilippe continued. "I would rather recover from the emotions, enjoy the jersey and then be on top form on Sunday in Liège-Bastogne-Liège and everything that follows afterwards."

After Liège, Alaphilippe is set to line up at two more high profile races he is yet to win. The Amstel Gold Race follows the weekend after La Doyenne on October 10th, with the Tour of Flanders then on the 18th.

Jonny Long

Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races. I'm 6'0", 26 years old, have a strong hairline and have an adequate amount of savings for someone my age. I'm very single at the minute so if you know anyone, hit me up.


Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab, reporting about students evacuating their bowels on nightclub dancefloors and consecrating their love on lecture hall floors. I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).


I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.