The Julian Alaphilippe season seems compromised. After his fall during the Liège-Bastogne-Liège race on Sunday, the double world champion has a pneumothorax, a fractured shoulder blade and two broken ribs. Hospitalized, the rest of his career will inevitably be impacted, after many disappointments.
Compromised season for Julian Alaphilippe: the double world champion, seriously injured on Sunday in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, is having a difficult year marked by repeated falls. A Doyenne cursed for the French concluded a spring of pain and disappointment. Transported to Herentals, to the medical center used by the Belgian Quick-Step team for its wounded, Alaphilippe entered a zone of turbulence and questions. How long will his unavailability last? What new goals can he set for himself? Will he have to wait until the end of the summer and the defense of his world title in Australia?
A pneumothorax, a fractured shoulder blade and two broken ribs
The nature of the injuries forces him to completely reconsider his season. Pneumothorax, fractured shoulder blade, two broken ribs: the toll of the fall, which knocked part of the peloton to the ground 60 kilometers from the finish, is heavy. On the aerial TV images, seen and reviewed by the VAR commissioner of the International Cycling Union, it is impossible to demonstrate responsibility.
Romain Bardet, who was well placed, spoke of a touchdown between the Briton Tom Pidcock and the Frenchman Jérémy Cabot. Still, the fall occurred downhill, at nearly 70-80 km / h according to the Frenchman from the DSM team, with serious consequences for Alaphilippe and several other runners (Elie Gesbert and Dorian Godon in particular) . As often since the beginning of the year, the material, which is increasingly rigid and efficient, allows less and less deviations on the bike.
Promised to become the successor of Bernard Hinault, the last French winner of the Doyenne (1980), the world champion multiplies the disappointments in a race cut to his measure. His second place in 2015 was better than a hope, that of 2021 sounded like a failure, especially after his disappointment in 2020 when he was brought up on the line before being demoted by the jury of commissioners.
An accumulation of health problems and injuries
“I dream of winning this race, it’s no secret, moreover I have always been ready, always an actor”, declared Alaphilippe in L’Equipe before the race won hands down by his teammate, the Belgian Remco Evenepoel. The Frenchman thought he was done with his “sawtooth” start to the season, as he put it. “I fell ill and I was caught in several falls, I lost important weeks of training,” he analyzed. Especially because of his spectacular Strade Bianche “sun” at the beginning of March, which upset him for a long time.
If his second fall, in mid-April, in the Brabant Arrow, appeared less serious, Alaphilippe took a new blow. “Even the falls where you get up without hurting, it’s never trivial”, he recalled before Liège-Bastogne-Liège. This time, “Alaf” did not get up on his own. Here he is in front of the unknown even if he has already gone through difficult periods, among other things after his fall in the Tour of Flanders 2020 (double fracture in the right hand).
His program (rest, training at altitude in May, Dauphiné in early June) can only be turned upside down. With a very heavy mortgage on the Tour de France, the start of which will be given on July 1 in Copenhagen a few days after its 30th anniversary.