Julian Alaphilippe has become so accustomed to breathtaking performances at the Tour de France that when he started struggling in the final of stage 12, he assumed it was because he had suffered a mechanical, and not that he just didn’t have the legs on the day.
“I thought I was suffering from bike trouble in the final, but it turned out to be just the legs. I just didn’t have the strength to do anything anymore,” Alaphilippe says after he tried his best to pull the race back together and take the stage win for himself.
It was, however, the rider he beat on stage two to take his first victory of 2020 as well as the yellow jersey who got the better of the peloton today, Marc Hirschi (Sunweb).
“We did our best, but it was difficult because we all tried to save some energy in the chasing group. Hirschi did not hesitate and is the deserved winner. Chapeau,” Alaphilippe said. “He really knew how to pull out a great ride.”
In true Alaphilippe fashion, the Frenchman says he has “no regrets” about trying for the win, having been assisted by team-mates Dries Devenyns and Bob Jungels, taking advantage of Bora-Hansgrohe making the race fast as they hunt for opportunities where Peter Sagan can take points back off Sam Bennett in the green jersey competition.
“I had favoured making an effort on tomorrow’s stage, but in the end it was fast today thanks to Bora, so in the end the situation was good,” Alaphilippe said afterwards. “Dries [Devenyns] and Bob [Jungels] who helped me get a bit of a gap. After that, I made my effort, but it was complicated.”
Alaphilippe, who has at times seemed weighed down by the pressure and attention garnered by his breathtaking yellow jersey performance in 2019, will focus on four stages ahead that “suit me quite well” above focusing on the king of the mountains jersey, which he previously won in 2018.
“Eventually that could become an objective but for now the priority is to take on this second half of the Tour with motivation and fresh legs,” the Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider said.