• Julian Alaphilippe won Stage 16 of the 2018 Tour de France, his second this year (Getty)Source: Getty
Impressive goatee, polka dots, multiple stage wins - they broke the panache mould when they made Julian Alaphilippe.
Cycling Central

Quick-Step Floors
25 Jul 2018 - 11:45 AM  UPDATED 25 Jul 2018 - 11:53 AM

Alaphilippe wins an eventful Tour stage
Stage 16 of the Tour de France featured a protest, spectacular crashes and dynamic racing which ended with a swashbuckling win by Julian Alaphilippe.

After claiming two stages at this year's Tour de France and currently the leader of the polka dot jersey comp,  Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe is winning his way into our hearts and our loungerooms.

The 26-year-old's Stage 10 win was his first ever at the Tour but it and his second were just two in a string of prestigious victories for 2018. Spring classic La Flèche Wallonne, two stage victories at Itzulia Basque Country, and a Critérium du Dauphiné stage win. 

He's the Thomas Voeckler we all wanted Thomas Voeckler to be - panache, minus the tongue theatrics.

So let's throw out the word panache when it comes to Alaphilippe and go with...swashbuckling? 

Here's some reasons why, other than his dastardly facial hair:

He descends beautifully

Sure, so do many others in the pro peloton - past and present - but there's a certain je ne sais quoi about the polka dot jersey bombing it so assuredly around a corner.  He's like the Lotus in Pretty Woman that handles like it's on rails. 

Wanted to wait for Adam Yates after his crash

"When I saw him when he was back on his bike I want to wait (for) him. He was close to me but he never come back. 

"Maybe he was scared after the crash. It's never nice. After, I decided to go full gas to the line."

Chivalrous enough for us!

The perilous Pyrenees: Gilbert and Yates tumble
Adam Yates and Philippe Gilbert both crashed dramatically on tricky descents during Stage 16 of the Tour de France.

Was super worried about team mate Philippe Gilbert

The overuse of the nickname 'Wolfpack' by Quickstep-Floors gets a little bile-inducing but in this case it's justified. 

"I was sad for my team mate Philippe when he crashed because he was alone in the front and it was a good situation for us but he's OK. After, I was focused on the stage victory."

Hits you right in the feels. 

He plays the drums

"Music is very important in my life," he says on his team's website. "I love it and it gives me the energy I need every single time.

"Before coming into cycling, I learnt to play the drum helped by my father, who was an orchestra conductor."

Cares about his fans - near and afar 

When shown a young Aussie fan's video by SBS reporter Sophie Smith, Alaphilippe was touched: