• French rider Julian Alaphilippe powers to the line at the UCI Road World Championships in Imola, Italy (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Newly crowned world champion Julian Alaphilippe will miss the chance to make it a three-peat of wins at La Flèche Wallonne after announcing he will sit out the Ardennes Classics opener.
By
SBS Cycling Central

30 Sep 2020 - 10:44 AM  UPDATED 30 Sep 2020 - 10:53 AM

Catch all the action from the men's and women's La Flèche Wallonne races LIVE on SBS VICELAND from 7 pm (AEST) or live streamed via SBS On Demand on Wednesday, September 30.

Despite being named in Deceuninck-Quickstep’s team for the event, the Frenchman has made the call to rest up after an incredible victory at the UCI Road World Championships in Imola, Italy on Monday morning (AEST).

Alaphilippe has a superb record at La Flèche Wallonne - winning the race in 2018 and 2019, but the 28-year-old told RMC Sport he was in dire need of recovery after his World Championships win and the physical toll of riding the Tour de France.

"It is true that it will be a little bit complicated," Alaphilippe said.

"I've already told the team that I don't think I will do La Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday.

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Champion du Monde - Alaphilippe's dream rainbow breaks France's long drought
Julian Alaphilippe's devastating late attack at the road worlds on Sunday gave France its first rainbow jersey since 1997 and the Frenchman a year to dastardly brandish his panache with even more style.

"It will be a little bit borderline. In terms of physical and emotional recovery, it's not necessarily the right choice to be at Flèche Wallonne."

The Deceuninck-Quickstep rider will be replaced by Belgian teammate Tim Declercq for the race but has set his sights on returning to action for Liege-Bastogne-Liege on October 4.

"I prefer to concentrate on Liège-Bastogne-Liège and everything that is going to happen afterwards," he said.

"It would be a good choice to miss La Flèche Wallonne, knowing that I have already finished second and won it twice.

“I prefer to savour the (World Championship) jersey, recover, and get back down a little bit from this incredible day."

Alaphilippe's absence will open the door for a new winner with Sunweb's Marc Hirschi, INEOS rider Michal Kwiatkowski and Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar from UAE Team Emirates among the favourites.