Julian Alaphilippe is the new yellow jersey of the Tour de France, since his victory Monday in Epernay. His cousin and coach Franck agreed to answer our questions. To talk about its shape, its evolution, and therefore its potential objectives on this Tour de France or in the future.
Franck Alaphilippe, first a word about the new status of Julian, become even more popular …
Already last year, in terms of popularity, his Tour had brought him a lot. There, actually, I saw this Tuesday morning, it still exceeds 2018. It is a bit logical, too, because no French rider had worn the yellow since 2014. Julian pleases people, he is nice, it goes well with the public. And then his way of running, offensive, also explains that.
How is he going to live it, according to you?
Julian is a good guy, he loves people so he will love that. Afterwards, you must also be careful. Last year, after the fact, he had suffered a little at the end of the Tour. I think of all the criteriums he has done. He gave so much to people that it ended up exhausting him in August. He had felt a great fatigue.
It seems that Julian did not think he had great legs, however, Monday night during his coup …
It is true. The first thing he said to me was that he had won with rage, with anger. He did it mostly with the mind more than the legs. But already, before the start of Tour, his feelings were not the same as last year. His bearings were a little different, he was not sure where he was, and even thought he was not 100%. There, we will see now …
You are his trainer. Do you think he has made further progress, physically, since last year?
Yes, even if these data are substantially the same as last year. It was his Tour de France 2018 that took him to a plateau. He has gained strength and power. But it is especially mentally that he has progressed. One of his first qualities is his mind. And he has further developed it with all his victories.
So it was mainly racing, and not so much changes in training, that made it progress?
Yes, I think that the sequence of all his races did him a good job. Because in training, basically, we have not changed much compared to last year. He started his season earlier, he only traded Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico, and performed the Strade Bianche. And the key, with Julian, are his recovery periods.
What do Julian Alaphilippe's training look like?
They are variable, everything depends on the period. These are cycles. In summary, Julian is in the race, when they are long, he goes on with a long phase of recovery because Julian gives a lot in the race. And then, only, we resume. For example, between the Dauphiné and the Tour de France, Julian cut between two and three days when he did not bike at all. Then he had a two to three day recovery phase with endurance exits of 3 hours, 3 hours and 30 minutes. Then he had a stage recognition cycle. These are workouts based on the anaerobic threshold, less intense efforts but more on the length. When he has a scheduled race, a day for example, a big goal, it is necessarily work on lactic before. Violent efforts of 20 '' – 1 minute. There, for a race of three weeks, it was less the case.
Which runner is Julian Alaphilippe in training?
A hard worker who wants to work, to succeed. But he is also a runner who needs a lot to recover, to blow. He's a blood in his running, and freshness is a key element for him.
He does not have his eyes fixed on his power sensor, they say …
It is true. Although he is using it more and more, he still did not want to hear about it a few years ago. So it's true, it's not nonstop on it. And I think it did him good. He learned to know his feelings, his body, the feeling. When we worked thresholds, he did it to sensations. In the race, the same, he looks from time to time his sensor, but rarely. Monday, I can tell you that when he attacked, he did not look at his sensor anyway …
Where does he get his punching skills?
I think a lot of it is innate. In his cyclo-cross debut, I felt that. The raises, he loved, it suited him well. Then I also think that Julian gets back quickly, and it helps a lot. Finally, it has a strong ability to support lactic acid.
If we talk a little about this Tour, Julian can he keep his shirt against the best in the stage of The Planche of Beautiful Girls, Thursday?
Sincerely, I think he can keep it, yes. Already because this tunic will transcend it. It is a climb of 7 km, very hard, but it can compete with the best on that distance. Physically, he has the means to do it anyway. Especially that its form will go crescendo on this Tour. Everything will depend on the configuration of the stage. If the day starts strong, with leaders who cling very early and ride hard, it could be complicated. But otherwise, Julian is able to hold between twenty and thirty minutes with the best on a pass.
How far can he keep it?
If he passes the Planche des Belles Daughters, he can go to the Pyrenees, I think.
He moved this year to Andorra to progress in the mountains …
Yes quite. Julian's fault, for the moment, was to be efficient on the chain of passes, and the long passes. So to remedy that, he chose the best training ground. For the moment, with all the races he has done, it has been difficult to train in the mountains, but he will progress I think. He must work on long efforts in the mountains at a moderate intensity. Efforts of 40 'to 1 hour at the threshold in the passes, it will also allow him to progress in pedaling in the mountains. At the base, Julian has qualities of climber, he gained many of his first victories on stages of mountain in the races that he disputed.
But that will be to the detriment of his qualities of puncher?
Probably yes. That is why it is not sure that he has the desire to devote himself to it thoroughly. For now, it's not in his plans, I believe. Next year, we will work more specifically the mountain. It will be done in the winter.
Would a Top 10 Tour be playable this year?
It's not in his head anyway. He will do everything to keep it as long as possible, but he would also like to think rather win other stages. This morning, he told me that his Tour de France was only a bonus now. The goal has already been fulfilled.
Tour de France. Franck Alaphilippe: "Julian can keep the shirt up to the Pyrenees"Ouest-France.fr