Marion Rousse rejects Patrick Lefevere’s criticism of Julian Alaphilippe

‘Show a little more respect and... class’ says Tour de France Femmes race director and partner of Soudal Quick-Step rider

Clock20:58, Wednesday 21st February 2024
Marion Rousse is the race director of the Tour de France Femmes and a former professional rider herself

© Dario Belingheri/Velo Collection via Getty Image

Marion Rousse is the race director of the Tour de France Femmes and a former professional rider herself

Marion Rousse has hit back at Soudal Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefevere after the Belgian team manager claimed that her partner Julian Alaphilppe’s form had suffered due to alcohol and partying.

Rousse, who is the race director for the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift, and a former pro rider in her own right, took to social media to defend both herself and Alaphilippe after Lefevere had provided comments to Humo regarding Alaphilippe’s social life and lack of results since signing a contract extension with Soudal Quick-Step in 2021.

Lefevere, who has publicly criticised Alaphilippe in the past following a run of injuries and a lack of results, told Humo that his rider indulged in, “too many parties, too much alcohol... Julian is seriously under the influence of Marion Rousse. Maybe too much.”

Just hours after the comments became public, Rousse responded on X, formerly known as Twitter. She refuted Lefevere’s claims and told the team boss to refrain from questioning the couple’s private life.

“Whatever Mr Lefevere’s feelings towards me, it is unacceptable to attack our private lives as he is doing,” Rousse said.

“So no, I don’t drink alcohol, never even. You have failed with the partying too because with a three-year-old we prefer to be in shape in the morning. You won't succeed either, as you've already told me, in preventing me from working with and staying with Julian during his career. I'm passionate about what I do.

"But I'm telling you, under no circumstances will I allow you to talk about my private life. From now on, please stop talking out of turn and show a little more respect and... class."

View post on X

This isn’t the first time Lefevere has questioned one of his riders’ commitment and behaviour. In 2021 a similar situation occurred between Lefevere and his then-sprinter Sam Bennett. The Soudal team boss raised questions over Bennett’s health and communication with the team on the eve of the Tour de France that season. When it became clear that Bennett would return to Bora-Hansgrohe at the start of 2022 Lefevere stated that the Irishman was “the pinnacle of mental weakness” and likened his move to Bora as the “same as women who still return home after domestic abuse.”

Alaphilippe’s current three-year deal expires at the end of the season and the latest public rift between the rider and his team boss will likely spell the end of their relationship. Alaphilippe’s cousin and coach Franck Alaphilippe, was let go by the team at the end of 2022 following reported tensions between Lefevere and the coach.

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