2019 Tour de France: The Verve of Julian Alaphilippe
ALLEZ - Jose Vicente Araneta (The Freeman) - July 15, 2019 - 12:00am

For the firsts time since its inception in 1946, a foreign based team won the Larry O’Brien Trophy of the national basketball Association. But of course, any sharp basketball fan knows that the Toronto Raptors, just recently crowned as the 2019 World Champs, is based in Canada and came to the NBA a an expansion team back in 1995. That’s a long 23 year wait but I think no one even bothered to write about it or take about it. Well, I think that the American based team should reclaim be able to reclaim the title next year as the current status stands amongst teams today.

In cycling, The Tour de France its more than a centuries old and until 1985, 32 French riders have won it. It should be God-mandated that every now and then, a Frenchman should win the Tour de France- like hockey should be dominated by Canadians or football should be dominated by the Europeans or that Wimbledon would be dominated by a Brit.

It is unfortunate that in the Tour de France, the French hasn’t been on the winning end since Bernard Hinault, the 5-time winner, has wore the yellow jersey in Paris in 1985. Kids, that’s three years after President  Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law!!!

While some a few have been anointed as the next French winner, none have pulled the sword from the rock.

Even at the start of this years Tour, no Frenchman was expected to win the Tour. That’s until Julianne Alaphilippe, the 27yo Frenchman who rides for a Belgian team, won a stage and claimed the yellow jersey in a swashbuckling style, the style that reminds me of the years when cyclist attack to win, not to race and wait for their rivals to falter.

While the hungry French would love to see Alaphilippe win it all, hiss body is not designed  for the Tour the France. Former pro George Hincapie said that while Alaphilippe is tough to beat in 20 minute climbs, he can’t hang in when the climbs is for more than hour, and its the latter that litters the mountain stages of the Tour de France. Another thing that is an important trait of a Tour winner is an exceptional time trial ability and Alaphilippe is none of that.

But Alaphilippe has a very exceptional season so far, winning twelve races this year so far. In fact, he beat Peter Sagan in a sprint in the monument, Milan-San Remo last March. And this is what warms the hearts of France, a young guy molded from the legends of the past, who races like the legends of the past. And they held their collective hope that Alaphilippe will win the Tour this year, if not in the next few years. At 27yo, he is just hitting his prime.

To do that he has to move to a team that will support his Tour ambitions. His current team Deceuninck-Qiuck Step, is not that team. Its a team for Belgians and built for the Belgian races and Belgian fans.

In the meantime, Alaphillipe is wearing the Yellow Jersey and that’s better than nothing.

LARRY O’BRIEN TROPHY
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