Julian Alaphilippe takes Tour de Slovaquie overall victory
The Frenchman notched up his twelfth victory of the season, as Fabio Jakobsen prevailed on the final stage.
Quick-Step Floors concluded en fanfare the 62nd edition of the Tour de Slovaquie, which our team dominated from start to finish, taking a total of four wins with three different riders: Bob Jungels – who came out on top of the prologue by hundreds of a second – Julian Alaphilippe, victorious on the queen stage, a result on which he built his general classification triumph, and neo-pro Fabio Jakobsen, who sprinted to his fifth win of the season in Galanta.
Last day of the race was a pan flat one, but that didn't stop six riders from attacking and padding their lead to three minutes, thus prompting a reaction from Quick-Step Floors, who moved to the head of the peloton with Iljo Keisse, Niki Terpstra and Zdenek Stybar and gradually chewed into the escapees' advantage, before overhauling them with more than ten kilometers left.
A bunch gallop was inevitable, and under the flamme rouge, yellow jersey Alaphilippe and Belgian Champion Yves Lampaert kept the pace high, before the latter piloted Fabio until with 300 meters to go, where the 22-year-old Dutchman kicked out, holding off Matteo Pelucchi (Bora-hansgrohe) and winning by a whisker.
"Slovakia has been a really hard race, with a lot of climbing, and even today, when we had a flat stage, it wasn't easy, as we averaged around 45km/h. The team controlled the break and made sure everything came back together before the final, where Julian and Yves put me in a perfect position. I did a long sprint, but had enough to keep the speed high until the finish and cap off the week with this nice win in the country of one of our sponsors, Janom", said Fabio after picking up the team's 66th success of the season.
For Julian Alaphilippe, Tour de Slovaquie marked the second GC victory in the space of one week, following the one he notched up at the Tour of Britain, and came just ahead of the World Championships in Innsbruck, where the 26-year-old – who is enjoying his best season since turning pro – is expected to be in contention for the prestigious rainbow jersey.
"I am very happy to take another overall victory, which wouldn't have been possible without the amazing job of all my teammates, who protected me throughout the week. It feels incredible to replicate my Tour of Britain feat and add another line to my palmares. I come out of this race with a good morale and strong condition, which augurs well having the Worlds just around the corner", explained Julian, the first French rider in 61 years to conquer the Tour de Slovaquie.
Photo credit: ©Jan Melicher - jmphoto.sk