This spring saw Julian Alaphilippe secure the breakthrough Classics victory he’s long been promising, scoring a major scalp over Alejandro Valverde on the Mur de Huy to end the Spaniard’s four-year winning streak at La Flèche Wallonne.
Procycling sat down with the energetic Frenchman, and its new cover star, days after his victory to talk about his path to the top. Along the way, the Quick-Step Floors rider enjoyed a stint working as a mechanic, a year plying his trade with an amateur squad run by the French army and has a penchant for playing the drums.
“It’s taken me time to realise I have to stay calm, and that’s helped me get better,” Alaphilippe told Procycling. “But I’ve also learned that staying calm for too long costs me more energy than it would do if I was just letting off steam.”
From one Frenchman on a high to another who has endured a difficult 2018, Nacer Bouhanni tends to generate as many headlines for his off-the-bike behaviour as he does for his wins.
The hot-headed sprinter has been in the spotlight again this year, as he’s struggled for form and abandoned four races this spring, and there are murmurings of clashes between him and those inside the Cofidis team. Daniel Friebe looks back over Bouhanni’s career to try and untangle this enigma.
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