Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Culture

Agony and ecstasy award: Julian Alaphilippe

The highest highs and the lowest lows.

Lock Icon

Become a member to unlock this story and receive other great perks.

Already have an Outside Account? Sign in

Outside+ Logo

All Access
Fall Sale
$1.52 / week*

  • A $500 value with everything in the Print + Digital Plan plus 25+ benefits including:
  • Member-only content on all 17 publications in the Outside network like Beta MTB, Peloton, Clean Eating, Yoga Journal, and more
  • Today’s Plan training platform with customized programs
  • Two books from a cycling & fitness curated library by VeloPress
  • Annual gear guides for cycling, camping, skiing, climbing, and more
  • Discounted race entries to local sportives and centuries
  • Outside TV Shows, Films, and documentaries
  • Professional race photos from FinisherPix
Join Outside+
VeloNews.com

Print + Digital
Special Price
$0.50 / week *

  • Annual subscription to VeloNews magazine
  • Access to all member-exclusive content and gear reviews on VeloNews.com
  • Ad-free access to VeloNews.com
Join VeloNews

*Outside memberships are billed annually. You may cancel your membership at anytime, but no refunds will be issued for payments already made. Upon cancellation, you will have access to your membership through the end of your paid year. More Details

While we always admire the winners, we often sympathize more with the losers. Julian Alaphilippe gave us both emotions in 2020.

Alaphilippe won stage 2 of the Tour de France and appeared primed to hold the yellow jersey for more than a week, only to lose it due to an illegal feed three stages later. He then stunned the world by powering away on the final climb at the world championships in Italy to claim the rainbow stripes.

It was a moment of pure brilliance, only to be followed by two devastating defeats, first at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and the second at the Tour of Flanders.

The dream victory was in Alaphilippe’s grasp at Liège when he made the final breakaway as the race returned to the finish. And victory appeared to be his as he raced toward the line and raised his hands in victory. That’s when Primož Roglič threw his bike across the line just as Alaphilippe raised his arms — an opportunity botched by an amateur error.

And finally, there was the epic crash at Flanders. Breaking away with Wout van Aert and Matthieu van der Poel in his Flanders debut, Alaphilippe’s season came to a sudden end when he crashed into the back of a race motorcycle just 34 kilometers from the finish. Could he have won? We’ll never know.

While Alaphilippe’s result is uncertain, his ability to race with excitement and panache is guaranteed.