Julian Alaphilippe, the double world road cycling champion, has decided not to participate in the 2024 Tour de France to focus on the Paris Olympic Games. This decision was confirmed by Patrick Lefévère, the boss of Soudal-Quick Step, in an announcement to L’Équipe on 3 June 2024.

The French cyclist, who recently won the 12th stage of the Giro d’Italia on 16th May, expressed his intentions to his team leader following the victory. “I called Julian on the evening of his stage victory in the Giro to congratulate him,” Lefévère said. Alaphilippe joined an exclusive group of cyclists who have won at least one stage in the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia, and the Vuelta a España, the three major stage races.

Alaphilippe communicated to Lefévère that, despite public expectations, he would not participate in the Tour de France due to his focus on the Olympic Games. “He told me that he imagined that people would think of him for the Tour but that he did not want to do it because he had other objectives in mind,” Lefévère explained.

Julian Alaphilippe

Alaphilippe’s entourage confirmed his decision to L’Équipe, stating his desire to skip the Tour de France to prepare for the Olympics. Lefévère emphasised that Alaphilippe’s commitment to the team remains strong, adding, “He assured me that he would comply with our decision because we are his employer, but I cannot imagine for a moment forcing him to be at the start. We never did it for anyone. Above all, I understand that Julian already has Paris in mind, this may be his last chance to experience the Olympic Games, especially at home. Why deprive him of that?”

Alaphilippe has had a challenging period recently, dealing with injuries and public disputes with Lefévère, who criticised the cyclist’s salary, his media appearances, and his relationship with journalist Marion Rousse. Rousse, a former cycling champion herself, condemned these “unacceptable” attacks on their private lives in a tweet.

The debate on Alaphilippe’s participation in the Tour de France reignited following his Giro victory. Remco Evenepoel, his teammate and leader of the Soudal-Quick Step team, supported Alaphilippe’s choice, stating that it was ultimately up to him to decide. “It’s up to Julian to choose, and I respect his choice,” Evenepoel said.