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The audacity of Julian Alaphilippe.

Julian Alaphilippe rose over the penultimate release of La Planche des Belles Filles, through a cloud of beaten dust and headlights, only in the frame. Within the thin gap between his arrival and that of Geraint, Thomas lived a moment in which everything seemed possible. Even Julian Alaphilippe won the Tour de France.

Julian Alaphilippe will not win the Tour de France.

alaphilippe-thomas-planche-des-belles-filles stage 6

A classic man came to the Tour de France and ran as if he had nothing to lose. That's why he wins. Audacity is an asset, not a responsibility, in the career world of Julian Alaphilippe.

He left too early on the road to Epernay two days ago because, he said, "my legs did not feel so bad, so I went." As simple as that. He needed 30 seconds, he got it, he held it and took the first French yellow jersey from Tony Gallopin. The word "panache" is overloaded with work, his back is broken in the field of cycling literature, but since he is French and he is French, I can not think of a better way to express it.

"I'll keep doing things my way," he said after the stage.

In the first real mountain stage of the Tour de France, your way was to sit down with the best climbers in the world on one of the steepest scales of this year's race, and then attack them. Only Thomas and Thibaut Pinot could get it back.

Bold riders win big bike races. They win Strade Bianche and Milano-Sanremo and Flèche Wallonne. They do not win the Tour de France. This has been hit in us: the need for conservative driving, containment, control. A strong team The last two decades have been defined by a style of the winner of the Tour de France who wins thanks to what he does not do and what he does.

The race is too close now. It is too marked. There are too many details, too many teams paying attention to too many details, so if you are not paying attention to the details, you may not even try.

All the runners say they are taking the Tour every day, but Alaphilippe really does. So far, he has not thought about saving energy to be able to use it within three days. Geraint Thomas certainly has.

Julian Alaphilippe could win the Tour de France.

Can you win the Tour without thinking about tomorrow, today?

Julian Alaphilippe will not win the Tour de France.

It is quite reasonable to suggest that Alaphilippe could transform himself in the same way as Dan Martin did. From a master of the Ardennes to the Grand Tour contender; puncheur for grimpeur. But he has to love him. And it is not entirely clear if he does it, or he will.

If the professional cyclists are all monks, living without certain joys in deference to a higher purpose, then the aspiring Tour is a special type of devotee; the guy who says goodbye for a year, or will never wear shoes again in his life. Meditate, pray, yearn more than others, more fervently, more desperately. The life of the Tour contender is given to something bigger than him. Is Alaphilippe ready for that?

He can climb with the best once. Do you have the patience to keep and do it again? And again?

Alaphilippe will discover in the course of this Tour if it will be worth it. He will know when we leave the Pyrenees, after a series of slopes much longer than today. After the contenders have spent a week seeing him as an equal, and not as an impostor; then they follow him, and he tries to follow them. After the game of yellow jersey he plays now he gets very serious, and there is pressure, real pressure, the kind of pressure specifically reserved for French hopes, which turns them into dust or diamonds and nothing in the middle.

Will Julian Alaphilippe win the Tour de France? I think he can.

He will not do it

But he could.

And that would not be fun.

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