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“I don’t want to squander my ability, I want to keep that dynamic side, to be a puncheur, with my nice little finishing kick. For now I want to stick with that. The Ardennes suit me very well,” 

Photo: © Etixx - Quick-Step / Tim de Waele

JULIAN ALAPHILIPPE

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29.04.2015 @ 17:35 Posted by Joseph Doherty

It is only now as he starts the Tour of Romandie that Julian Alaphilippe has realised what he has achieved with back-to-back second places behind Alejandro Valverde at Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

 

“I realised what I had achieved thanks to all of the messages that I received from France and Belgium,” said the 22-year-old Etixx-QuickStep rider in an interview with L’Equipe. “I had just finished second in the most beautiful race in the world to Alejandro Valverde… I’m very satisfied. No, not very satisfied, but pleased with myself.”

 

Second in those races was even more special as he had been working for World Champion and Amstel Gold winner Michal Kwaitkowski in both races, and he made big efforts over the 260km in Liege.

 

“On the descent I did everything I could to recover. We turned left and there right in front of us was the wall [up to the finish in Ans]. That really motivated me. I told myself that victory in Liège-Bastogne-Liège would be decided at the top. I wasn’t overawed. But I do need some more experience, to get to know the final, and the race’s tricky and most strategic points,” explained the Frenchman, who was quick to underline that second place on his Liège debut doesn’t mean he’ll win the race next year.

 

He says he is inspired by Philippe Gilbert and what made his Sunday even more special was receiving a congratulatory text from the Belgian.

 

“We went to the finish of Flèche Wallonne. Philippe Gilbert won it and that inspired me. His style as a puncheur really motivated me,” said Alaphilippe, who added: “He sent me a message of congratulation on Sunday. He thought of me even when he was also in demand, which was really cool.”

 

He is focused on improving his performance in the Ardennes and hopes to one day hone his skills so he can win those races. He is expected to take a break after Romandie and build towards his Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta a Espana.

 

“I don’t want to squander my ability, I want to keep that dynamic side, to be a puncheur, with my nice little finishing kick. For now I want to stick with that. The Ardennes suit me very well,” said the Frenchman, who said he has started talks with Etixx team manager Patrick Lefevere about extending the contract that runs out at the end of this season.

 

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