The words are from Philippe Le Gars journalist, official media of the Tour de France. The premonition was French Of course, he made a mistake Quick Step racer did not accelerate happily, since it was impossible to do it on arrival in Epernay, on a 500-meter ramp with an 8% drop, a long slope and so steep that it takes your breath away when walking So much so that Alaphilippe collapsed a few meters in front of the goal and did not even have the strength to drink water, nor to remove his helmet.
Then came the hug with his companions and tears. And it was not for less, because they spent four years, 11 months and 23 days for a local cyclist to wear yellow. The last: Tony Gallopin in the ninth day of 2014. The next day he would lose the shirt with the Italian Vincenzo Nibali, in the end winner of the race.
The people of Epernay, most of the people, were close to the finish which made the champagne people look even more alone than they usually are. Julian got his third win in the Tour (he added two in 2017) hoping that this victory could emerge even stronger, if only to stay at the top of the general classification a few days. He had already said before starting: “I’m not going to fight for the title. To say it would be to lie to the country and myself. ”
His sincerity was taken by the French media as an act of courage and honesty to recognize the limitations. For the fans as a word of cowardice. “How do you say that before you start? This Monday he did it and he can do it more times, “says Claudine, a woman with a faith as big as the French flag she carries with her two hands and with which she can barely walk. And that must be highlighted: France believes again and is excited, and dreams.
What she does not know is that Alaphilippe is not a climber of those who climb as if they had one more gear in the engine, that in the explosive and short ramps it can be successful, but that in the long ascents of kilometers, the legs do not They respond and start wasting time. That is why he is mentalized to wear yellow as much as he can, but that the day he has to return to the blue there will be no remorse.
“It’s one of the best moments of my life. It will be difficult to maintain it, but I will do everything possible. This garment deserves to be honored, “said Alaphilippe at a crowded press conference, a hot spot for the summer sun that was made more suffocating by the mass presence of local media. Everyone wanted the image and the words of the new Tour leader, the runner who warns with his gestures that he will attack in the peloton, but he does it in such a forceful way that it is sometimes difficult to hold on to him.