Home favourite Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) has been ruled out of the Tour de France after undergoing surgery on a knee injury.
After wearing the yellow jersey at Paris-Nice, the 24-year-old Frenchman had already been forced to miss the Ardennes Classics with a knee injury which he sustained at the Tour of the Basque Country, and now faces a much longer lay-off than had initially been expected.
Alaphilippe underwent surgery on the injury in Belgium today, and will need two weeks of complete rest before beginning rehabilitation, and an additional two weeks before he is allowed to ride.
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“I can’t tell you how sad I am, there’s really no words,” Alaphilippe said.
“The Tour de France was my primary goal of the year, and to miss it, after previously being forced to skip the Ardennes Classic, it’s very disappointing.
“Now my focus is on making a full recovery and arriving in a good condition for the second part of the year. Fortunately, the season is still long and I hope to bounce back.”