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The Tour de France Maillot Jaune

Inside the Mind of Julian Alaphilippe

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He’s been called the most exciting rider in cycling today. He puts the “unpredictable” in the predictable. And we all see the flamboyant way of racing of a man who grew a goatee and mustache to look like D’Artagnan, the fourth musketeer of literary fame. D’Artagnan has been described as “a young, foolhardy, brave and clever man.” Those words partly sum up the character of Julian Alaphilippe, the current holder of the Tour de France maillot jaune. But what is the 28-year-old Frenchman really like? We took a look inside the head of the Deceuninck-Quick Step team leader when he recently answered the Proust Questionnaire for Peloton magazine.

Images by Chris Auld

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

To realize the chance we have to be alive. When you realize the chance you have to live and can live by doing what you love, that for me is happiness.

What is your greatest fear? 

That the people I love no longer love me.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

I don’t like to talk about myself much, but I guess that I am always going full out. Sometimes it is a quality, but can be a fault too. But that is the way I am. I don’t do anything half way. I like that. I am happy with who I am. But it doesn’t always serve me well.

What is the trait you most deplore in others? 

People that are fake.

Which living person do you most admire? 

My father. He had an amazing way of living with such simplicity. He did everything he could to give us what we needed even though he had very little, and he always knew how to unite the family and for me that is the most important thing.

What is your greatest extravagance? 

Oh I am always extravagant. Everything I do is with extravagance!

What is your current state of mind?  

Relaxed, motivated and hungry.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?   

To be wealthy.

On what occasion do you lie?  

Well I don’t like to lie, but when I buy a gift for someone I can lie to hide the surprise.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?  

Well I don’t like my hair. It is impossible to cut and keep up.

What is the quality you most like in a man?  

Sincerity.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?  

The same.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?  

Full gas.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?  

My family. When I am on a bike. It is my love, my passion and my lifestyle.

When and where were you happiest?  

Oh I think when I won my first stage in the Tour de France. I knew that my father was watching on the television. And then when I called him in the evening, I could hear just how happy he was that his son had done something really special.

Also I would say the moment where I found out who I was. Such things take time, but not so long ago I reached that point in life and it was really satisfying.

Which talent would you most like to have?   

Oh I am not jealous. I am happy with who I am.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?  

To have started life with nearly nothing and have reached the summit of my sport, to be a leader on a team like mine and to have won some of the greatest races in the world. We grew up with very little. It wasn’t hard because we didn’t really know about the world around us and we were happy. I am really happy to have had the childhood I had, but I am really proud of that progression from almost nothing to the top of my sport.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?  

Impossible. We only have one life. I can believe in reincarnation, but I don’t have any desire to come back as something or someone else.

From issue 80, get back issue here.