Patrick Lefevere: Julian Alaphilippe had the final say on racing through injury

Soudal Quick-Step team boss has his say after Alaphilippe announced that he raced the Classics with a fracture

Clock14:40, Saturday 20th April 2024
Julian Alaphilippe raced the Spring Classics with a fracture

© Getty Images

Julian Alaphilippe raced the Spring Classics with a fracture

Soudal Quick-Step general manager Patrick Lefevere has claimed that Julian Alaphilippe had the final say on whether to race with a fracture in his fibula head during the Spring Classics.

The news of the Frenchman’s injury was only made public last week when the rider informed the press that he had sustained the injury in a crash at Strade Bianche.

Despite scans revealing the injury at the time Alaphilippe went on to compete in Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo, E3 Saxo Classic, Dwars door Vlaanderen and the Tour of Flanders. He failed to feature in any of the Belgian one-day races, with his best result coming in Milan-San Remo, where he finished ninth.

Read more: Julian Alaphilippe raced Spring Classics campaign with fracture, fearing criticism

Writing in his weekly column for Het Nieuwsblad, Lefevere stated that while Alaphilippe’s fracture had been picked up in medical scans, it was ultimately the rider’s decision to keep on racing. Lefevere seemingly wanted to dispel any suggestion that the team had forced Alaphilippe to race while injured.

“For the record: it is true that Julian rode around with a fracture in his fibula this spring. He sustained this in a fall in Strade Bianche, a race that has brought him little luck. After Milan-San Remo, he complained of slight pain. We did indeed see the fracture on an ultrasound. Minuscule, but clearly noticeable. After consultation, it was decided to continue in the spring. The outside world interpreted that was 'under pressure from the team' if it was not Lefevere in person,” the team boss wrote.

“It's true that it would have been a big disappointment to lose Julian at a crucial moment, but of course he had the final say. Julian had raced for seven days in Tirreno-Adriatico with that injury. And in Milan-San Remo he sprinted for victory with a flat tire. Julian was fit enough to be competitive and could not aggravate the injury.”

According to Alaphilippe, the injury was kept secret by all parties, but the rider was especially concerned with public criticism had the news become public.

"I didn't mention it because I didn't want people to think I was faking it," he told Le Parisien.

The relationship between Alaphilippe and Lefevere has endured a turbulent few months and the rider, out of contract this year, has drawn attention from several teams, with Cofids and ​TotalEnergies vying for the 31-year-old’s signature.

Alaphillippe is set to race the Giro d'Italia in May, while he will add one more race to his spring programme in the next few days.

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