Two-time world road champion Julian Alaphilippe has confirmed he will join the 25th edition of the Tour Down Under in January, ten years after making his world tour debut at Australia’s flagship cycling race.
Alaphilippe looms as a strong early favorite for the six-stage event from Jan. 16 to 21 given the hilly terrain around the southern Australian city of Adelaide suits the Frenchman’s strengths on rolling hills and short but steep climbs.
“There are many undulating roads and tough climbs throughout various stages of this race, but I’m particularly excited to revisit Willunga Hill along with Mt Lofty for the first time, as I believe both will provide great opportunities for our team to finish strong,” the Soudal-QuickStep team leader said.
Alaphilippe’s only previous visit to Australia was his world tour debut at the Tour Down Under in 2014, an event that has never had a French winner.
Since then Alaphilippe won the 2020 and 2021 World Road Championships, and the Milano-Sanremo in 2019.
He has worn the yellow jersey at the Tour de France for a total of 18 days and won the King Of The Mountains at the 2018 race.
“I expect Alaphilippe to do very well in the hardest final weekend of Tour Down Under racing history,” said Event Director Stuart O’Grady, referring to the final two stages of the race being hill-climb finishes at Willunga Hill and Mt Lofty. “He is a true champion of our sport, and a born entertainer.”