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Cycling: Alaphilippe reborn on the Tour of Italy after an extraordinary raid

After months of misery, Julian Alaphilippe won the title. solo the 12th stage of the Tour of Italy, Thursday Fano, losing his escape companion Mirco Maestri in the last difficulty; of the day, after an extraordinary raid of 126 kilometers.

The French puncher won in Fano, on the banks of the Adriatic, at the end of an almost suicidal ride in the company of the Italian rider Mirco Maestri, with whom he escaped at 126 km from the finish.

Such a feat was necessary to erase two particularly difficult years, a long way of the cross made of falls, injuries and controversies with his boss of Soudal-Quick Step, Patrick Lefevere.

< p>This is also his first victory in almost a year and his stage success at the Critérium du Dauphiné, in June 2023, and his most beautiful since his second world title in Louvain in… 2021.

He also signs the third French victory in this 107th edition of the Giro, after those of Benjamin Thomas and Valentin Paret-Peintre.

“Ah, that feels good!”, he said as soon as he crossed the line in Fano, where he became the 109th rider in history to have won a stage on the three major Tours (France, Italy and Spain).

– “An important victory” –

“It’s a victory that does a lot of good, an important victory for me, he then explained. I think of my wife (Marion Rousse) and my son who have supported me a lot recently, always And also thank you to all my team who controlled the start of the stage very well. I told them that it was a stage that I had ticked off. It was a dream to win in the Giro. glad to have made it.”

Cycling: Alaphilippe reborn on the Tour of Italy after an extraordinary raid

Julian Alaphilippe on the podium of the 12th stage of the Tour of Italy, May 16, 2024 in Fano © AFP – Luca Bettini

After placing a first attack 138 kilometers from the goal, “Alaf” isolated himself thirteen kilometers further with Maestri, a modest rider from the Polti-Kometa team.

Launched in a crazy attempt, the two men worked together perfectly to keep several groups of pursuers at bay in this hilly stage ideal for escapes.

Alaphilippe finally let go of his “fuga” companion 11.5 km from the finish, in the last wall, to then resist the return of the pursuers, the Ecuadorian Jhonatan Narvaez and the Belgian Quinten Hermans, who came to die at around thirty seconds.

“Mirko also deserved to win today, he was incredible, we worked together very well”, explained Alaphilippe, who arrived with more than five minutes left. advance on the peloton of favorites including the Slovenian Tadej Pogacar, who retains the leader's pink jersey.

Alaphilippe and Maestri exchanged at length at the finish to congratulate each other and take a photo together. “He thanked me for the work done and I told him that he was a great champion. Along with Peter Sagan, it is the rider that I respect the most. It was a fantastic day for me, the memory for all a life. Winning against Julian was impossible for me, but I feel like I won too,” said the 32-year-old Italian, finally 9th at 1 min 30 seconds.


For “Alaf”, this victory, the 42nd of his career, represents an act of rebirth after two very complicated years since his serious fall in Liège-Bastogne-Liège in April 2022.

– “I have come from afar” –

His emotion at the finish betrayed the difficult times he went through and many runners, witnesses of his ordeal, came to congratulate him.

“He's a friend and a champion. He had some problems but he came back, it's beautiful”, commented his former teammate, the Italian Matteo Trentin, today with Tudor.

“It's an impressive victory. He showed that he remains one of the best riders He's the Alaphilippe that everyone wants to see”, applauded Pogacar himself.

Cycling: Alaphilippe reborn on the Tour of Italy after an extraordinary raid

Julian Alaphilippe (L) congratulated by Italian rider Mirco Maestri at the finish of the 12th stage of the Tour of Italy, May 16, 2024 in Fano © POOL – Tim De Waele

“Everyone is very happy for him. He did something incredible,” said Alaphilippe sporting director Geert Van Bondt. “He's a fighter, the last two years haven't been easy for him but he stuck with it and kept working. He was rewarded today.”

Alaphilippe, who is competing in his first Giro at almost 32 years old, marks his rebirth in a country he loves and where he achieved several of his greatest successes, Milan-Sanremo and the Strade Bianche in 2019 as well as the Worlds in Imola in 2020.

“She is beautiful because there is the way and I waited for her”, said Alaphilippe, very active since the start and who finished second during the 6th stage a week ago. “I think I deserved it because I really went for it. I really want to savor the moment because I've come a long way.”

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116