Julian Alaphilippe was just unstoppable on stage two of the Critérium du Dauphiné, pouncing to an emphatic success in La Chaise-Dieu, a small town in the Haute-Loire department, which the peloton visited for the first time. By taking this win, Julian became the most successful active French rider at the World Tour race, with three stages and a KOM jersey to his name in seven participations.
There were plenty of hills on the road again at the Dauphiné Tuesday afternoon, four of which were classified, and Soudal Quick-Step was one of the only two teams to work behind the breakaway, which was easily reeled in with ten kilometers to go, on the Côte des Guêtes. Going over the top, a few riders tried to surprise the bunch with an all-out attack, but they too were caught before the last kilometer, which Julian entered seventh wheel.
The double World Champion raced smartly as things heated up, getting himself in a perfect slot and launching a devastating sprint 200 meters from the line down the center of the road just as the gradient stiffened. Alaphilippe easily came past Richard Carapaz (EF Education-EasyPost), putting a bike length into his opponents, as he celebrated his 41st victory in the pro ranks and the team’s 26th success of the season.
“It wasn’t easy to take the win today, but it feels great to have done it. These past couple of months haven’t been easy, but I kept my passion and worked hard in the last couple of weeks, and now I’m delighted I could feel the taste of winning again. Coming into the race, my goal was to get a victory here, and now that I have accomplished that, I remain motivated for the rest of the week, as I want to give my best”, said Julian, who climbed to second overall. “My gesture when crossing the line was about staying calm. When it goes well, it goes well. When it doesn’t happen, you need to keep working hard, which I did.”