Julian Alaphilippe's smile did not leave him that day. The Frenchman had a first day in idyllic yellow all along the 213 km of the course at the end of which his team-mate Elia Viviani has won.
How did you live this first day in yellow?
JULIAN ALAPHILIPPE. I had trouble sleeping on Monday, but I had an amazing day. From the bus to the finish line, I've never been so supported. I took advantage of every kilometer, I was well protected and we ended with a victory. Nothing could be better.
We even saw you in the lead at the red flame to launch the sprint of Elia Viviani. It's unexpected with the yellow jersey?
I usually help my team mates on the sprint stages, the yellow has not changed anything. I did not want to stay at the back of the pack. The final was nervous, I was afraid of falling and I preferred to be ahead.
What really changes to run a stage of the Tour in yellow?
It's amazing, every ten seconds, I heard my name. Normally, it is already warm to the heart but there, I had never felt like that. It's a day I will never forget. This is the yellow jersey effect. I really felt the difference. It's another world. In the pack, I was next to other runners, friends, and I felt they were happy for me. It's hard to describe as feelings, complicated to explain until you've experienced it. I take it as it comes. I do not run after popularity, but these encouragements will help me to give even more in the coming days.
Wednesday and Thursday, the stages are more difficult. You hope to keep your yellow jersey?
It will be more difficult but we will continue to defend the jersey. Wednesday, the final will be difficult compared to the stages that we already knew. But this is only happiness, the team is motivated and if I have to lose the jersey, I would not have dropped easily.
You are considered an old-fashioned runner by your style. That pleases you ?
I'm happy to be part of the runners who run the old fashioned, who calculate perhaps less than some. It fits me pretty well. I like when there are attacks. It was done a lot in the 70s, 80s or 90s. That's how I enjoy myself, I like running like that. If I played the general classification Monday, I would have stayed warm up to 200 m, but there I have not calculated. Just ran with my heart, my legs and my head in the last kilometers.
Do you prefer to be loved for your style or your success?
It takes a bit of both. My style is appreciated because people like the plume. But they also like victories. I can not settle for a second place with the support of the public. But it's because I went to get the jersey in this way that I have this support.