An emotional Julian Alaphilippe dedicated his victory on Sunday’s second stage of the Tour de France to his late father Jo, who passed away in June at the age of 80 after a long illness.
“It’s always special to win on the Tour and it’s a strange year. I haven’t won a race since the start of the season,” Alaphilippe said after capturing the yellow jersey with his victory at the end of the 186km stage in Nice.
“I continued to work hard and I stayed serious despite the tough times. I just wanted to dedicate this victory to my dad. It was important to me.”
Alaphilippe held the yellow jersey for 14 days in last year’s race but ultimately finished fifth in Paris, extending the wait for a first home winner of the Tour de France since Bernard Hinault in 1985.
His win along the iconic Promenade des Anglais after a route featuring two category one climbs represented his fifth stage victory in cycling’s most prestigious race, having triumphed twice in both the 2018 and 2019 editions.
“I asked the team to really toughen up at the end, there weren’t a lot of people left on the final climb. I put in my effort and I didn’t ask too many questions.
“I gave everything, I had nothing to lose,” he added. “Making it happen feels good. I missed winning.”