Julian Alaphillipe says ‘I don’t know if I can make it’ in Flèche Wallonne

Is the world champion bluffing ahead of the tough hilly Classic? 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Julian Alaphilippe says he doesn’t know if he can make it to compete in the final of Flèche Wallonne, as he chases a third victory in the race.

The Deceuninck - Quick-Step star is continuing his Classics campaign in the Ardennes, having competed on the cobbles of Belgium earlier this season.

Alaphillipe has yet to take a Classics victory this year, as his best finish came in Strade Bianche where he finished second behind Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix). 

Speaking ahead of the race, reigning world champion Alaphilippe downplayed his chances in Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday (April 21), saying he hopes his motivation can make up for his lack of form.

Alaphilippe said in a Zoom press conference on the eve of the race: “I really love this race and it’s a good final for me, that’s for sure, but in the end you need really strong legs. This year I don’t know if I can make it, but I’m sure with my motivation, the condition I’m missing is here, so I will give everything.”

The Frenchman already has two Flèche Wallonne titles to his name, having won back-to-back in 2018 and 2019.  

Last year’s race went to Marc Hirschi, who will not be racing in 2021 after his UAE Team Emirates squad were forced to pulled out of the event due to coronavirus positives within the team. 

Alaphilippe’s last race was Amstel Gold Race last weekend, where he had to settle for sixth place, finishing in the second group on the road, three seconds behind the winner Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma). 

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Alaphilippe said: “For sure I’m not especially in the same shape like last time in Flèche.

“I did Flanders and some Flemish classics so it’s completely different, the preparation. A lot of guys came from the Basque Country. I try to manage my shape as best as I can. I was not disappointed after Amstel because I gave everything. In the end the strongest riders were in front.”