Julian Alaphilippe could not challenge Mathieu van der Poel in the final kilometre of Strade Bianche and finished the white roads classic in second place.
“Mathieu was very strong, so I have no regrets,” Alaphilippe said post-race. “Of course I would have preferred to win but in the end I am happy to be on the podium in the rainbow jersey. I am not disappointed, because I really gave everything. I already had cramps in the last kilometres. Mathieu was simply better, so I have to congratulate him.”
“Strade Bianche is always spectacular and hard and today it was not different. The tempo was high in the peloton long before the Monte Sante Marie sector, so I knew it was going to be a tough day. When the strong leading group went clear, we all worked well together and managed to build a nice gap. Then, I put in a couple of attacks, Van der Poel did the same inside 20 kilometers to go, and I joined him together with Bernal and the three of us kept powering to the line.
“On the steep finish in Siena, I did everything I could do and this meant coming runner-up. But I feel that the shape is getting where I want, so that’s good, it makes me look forward to the next races.”
After Strade Bianche, Alaphilippe will be at the start of Tirreno-Adriatico, then Milan-San Remo and the cobbled classics.