Julian Alaphilippe and Soudal Quick-Step: Will He Stay or Will He Go?

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Julian Alaphilippe: Will He Stay or Will He Go?DIRK WAEM - Getty Images

According to controversial Soudal Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefevere, two-time World Champion Julian Alaphilippe could be coming back to the Wolfpack. Yes, even after Lefevere got into hot water for making some untoward comments about Alaphilippe’s home life.

Despite the apparent friction between the French superstar and his ever-caustic team boss, Lefevere recently told Global Cycling Network that he thinks Alaphilippe wants to stay with his longtime team.

However, rumors have been swirling since at least last year that Alaphilippe—who is out of contract at the end of this season—will sign a deal with French domestic team Total Energies for the immediate future.

“Time changes. Maybe he has to look, but I really don’t think that’s what he wants. I really think he wants to stay, but I won’t speak before my turn because if I say something, it’s misunderstood. He’s part of the family. Okay, sometimes we have a discussion, and it’s blown up, but that’s family. If you’re married, not every day is peace. If you’re on a team with eighty-five people, then it’s normal that there’s some discussion or some friction, but at the end of the day, we’re adults, and if you can sit at the table, talk it out and speak face to face, then it’s not a problem,” Lefevere said.

Lefevere added, “Maybe for [Alaphilippe] it’s time for a new challenge, but there are always two at the table. I don’t know, but from the CEO of the team, I know that his agent says that he wants to talk. As far as I know, talking is free.”

Alaphilippe, who is currently racing the Tour de Romandie, has yet to respond publicly to Lefevere’s comments.

The 31-year-old Alaphilippe signed with Lefevere’s Continental squad Etixx-IHNed in 2013 before making his way onto the WorldTour team—then known as Omega Pharma-Quick-Step—the following season.

Since then, he’s been one of the most successful cyclists in the peloton, with wins at the Tour de France, the Vuelta a España, the Tours of Britain and California, and one-day Classics like Flèche-Wallonne, Strade Bianche, Clásica San Sebastian, Milano-Sanremo, Brabantse Pijl, and the aforementioned pair of World Championships.

He’s also been one of the most visible riders in the WorldTour, often displaying a refreshing joy for riding in the often staid peloton.

However, with Remco Evenepoel’s emergence as Soudal Quick-Step’s unquestioned leader, Alaphilippe’s role has diminished.

In addition to Total Energies, Alaphilippe has been linked to French outfit Cofidis, which currently sits twentieth in the WorldTour rankings and is on the precipice of relegation. Cofidis team boss Cédric Vasseur recently said he has no interest in signing Alaphilippe solely for his name recognition. Rather, he wants to bring Alaphilippe to Cofidis to fight for wins in the twilight of his career.

“We want to sign Alaphilippe for what he can give to the team. At this moment he’s facing a hard time so we wait for a bit and of course, we don’t want him to come to Cofidis as a retirement home,” Vasseur said.

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