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Alaphilippe ends stellar season early

Frenchman pulls out of scheduled starts at Milano-Torino and Il Lombardia as he draws a long season to a close.

After a stellar season that included a monument win and 14 days in the yellow jersey, Julian Alaphilippe has pulled out of the final races on his schedule for the year.

“I am really sad to tell you that I will not be racing Milano-Torino and Il Lombardia this week and that my incredible 2019 season has come to an end,” he announced in a press release published by his Deceuninck-Quick-Step team.

Having planned on ending his year with the Italian races, Alaphilippe feels he doesn’t have the legs to be competitive.

“I’ve worked really hard to try and be at my peak for a third time this year, having raced hard at the classics and Le Tour,” he said. “But I knew at the worlds that my form is short of where I would like it to be.”

It’s been a long season for the 27-year-old, who started in February with stage wins in Vuelta a San Juan before storming through spring with wins at Strade Banche, Milano-SanRemo and Fleche Wallone. Alaphilippe then cooled his jets through early summer before racing at the Criterium du Daphine as he built form for the Tour de France.

Alaphilippe’s against-the-odds performance at the Tour de France was one of the talking points of the summer, where he flourished on all terrain, winning a hilly stage, a time trial and placing second on the Tourmalet before crumbling in the final weekend.

His grand tour exploits wore heavily in legs however, and he failed to finish Classica san Sebastian the weekend after the Tour wrapped up. Having looked there or thereabout in the September’s Canadian races, the Frenchman failed to have any impact at the worlds.

“It makes sense that I start my post-season recovery now, in order to be in the best possible shape for the start of next year,” he said, before finishing: “2019 is a year that I will never forget… I can’t put into words how special it was to share all these beautiful moments with you all!”