Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) has hit a minor bump in his comeback from injury after testing positive for Covid-19.
While the final time trial of this year’s Tour de France was taking place on Saturday, Alaphilippe was crossing the finishing line atop the Mur de Huy to celebrate a comeback win at the Tour de Wallonie.
However, any delight at the result will have turned to frustration as the Frenchman then tested positive for Covid-19 forcing him out of the racing in Belgium.
Back in April, the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl rider suffered extensive injuries after a heavy crash at Liège–Bastogne–Liège. The Frenchman suffered two broken ribs, a punctured lung and a fractured scapula in the horrific incident at the Belgian monument and his extensive lay-off meant he missed out on Tour de France selection.
Before the Tour de France began, Alaphilippe had made tentative steps on his return to action competing at the French National Championships.
The 30-year-old admitted beforehand to L’Equipe that he had felt nervous about his return to action when he said:
“It’s not that I’m scared, but I think on some descents, some things may have changed a bit, these may be things that will seem weird at first.”
On Saturday, in the first stage of the Tour de Wallonie from Temploux to Huy, Alaphilippe was victorious once again on the famous Mur de Huy climb. The World Champion has three victories at La Flèche Wallonne to his name, so will have been relieved to score a comeback win on roads that have previously brought success.
The Tour de Wallonie may not feature many high-profile riders, although any win on returning from injury is important and Alaphilippe will be a favourite on the hilly stages at the upcoming Vuelta a España.
The Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl rider’s next race is currently unknown. Before the news of his positive test came through, he had been expected to race the Clásica San Sebastián this coming weekend.
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