Flashback 2019 – The Alaphilippe-Fuglsang duel

Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) delivered a great duel in the first part of the season. Especially, but not exclusively at one-day races.

The three memorable moments of their rivalry in 2019

Strade Bianche

It all started early in March at Strade Bianche. Both riders came to the race already with some victories in their backpack. Alaphilippe spent the first two months of the year in South-America, raced at Vuelta a San Juan (2nd place) and Colombia 2.0 (7th  place), later he completed an altitude training. Meanwhile, Fuglsang took part in Spanish stage races and managed to win.

The decisive moment of the Strade Bianche, the race with the famous white gravels happened to be during the 8th (and longest, 11 km) sector, a 14 men group with most of the favorites managed to distance from the rest of the peloton, meanwhile only Diego Rosa (Team Sky) remained at the head of the race from original breakaway group. The bunch of the favorites caught him before 30 km to go, and the Deceuninck-Quick Step, more precisely Yves Lampaert was setting the pace for a while.

The next important move happened in the 9th  gravel sector when Fuglsang decided to attack and only Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) could follow him. Considering this could be the decisive moment, Alaphilippe had to go either, without the help of his teammate, he joined the duo at the front a bit later. In the next sector van Aert dropped, Alaphilippe and Fuglsang rode together till the final km, where the Belgian rider managed to catch up.

On the narrow roads of Siena Van Aert rode in the first position, followed by Alaphilippe, who focused rather on Fuglsang behind him. When the Danish rider launched his attack, Alaphilippe was able to answer immediately, meanwhile Van Aert dropped again.

Inside the last 400 meters, Alaphilippe outstripped his rival and crossed first the finish line.

Amstel Gold Race

This race will be remembered for the incredible performance of the winner Mathieu Van der Poel (Corendon-Circus), but till the final couple of meters it was all about the power-duo Alaphilippe-Fuglsang. The French rider launched his attack at 36km to go, only Matteo Trentin (Michelton-Scott) and Fuglsang could follow him, at least for a while, because Trentin dropped and accompanied with Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky ) soon.  Seemingly nothing stood in the of victory of either Alaphilippe or Fuglsang. The Dane seemed to be more attack friendly during their ride together, but at the end, it didn’t matter anymore, because Van der Poel (and everybody who took the wheel behind him) managed to catch up inside the last few hundreds meter and launched his sprint successfully.

Fuglsang crossed the line on the 3rd place, meanwhile Alaphilippe became 4th.

La Fléche Wallonne

No wonder, that the race was decided on the last hill of the day. The Mur de Huy has a high reputation. A reduced peloton reached the 1 km mark just at the beginning of the ascent. First Michał Kwiatkowski seemed to have the strength for an attack, he rode at the front of this group alongside with Jelle Vanenedert (Lotto-Soudal)  and Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates).

Jakob Fuglsang launched his attack in the big corner, and it took a while till only one rider, Julian Alahpilippe remained his only rival. He counterattacked at cca 150 meter and crossed the finish before Fuglsang again.

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