In the months between Julian Alaphilippe's memorable 2019 Tour de France, when he spent 14 days in the yellow jersey, and his pulling on of the fabled tunic again on Sunday, the Frenchman has gone through some emotional times:
His father died in June
-- In June, his 80-year-old father Jo passed away after a long illness. Jo visited his son on the 2019 Tour despite having then recently suffered a stroke. "I promised myself I would win for him today," said the former soldier after securing the second stage on Sunday. His father was a former band leader and passed on some of his musical knowledge to his son, who likes to play the drums.
His partner is a former French champion cyclist and now a TV star
-- In April, during lockdown, the new yellow jersey wearer went public and announced that he and broadcaster Marion Rousse were an item. Rousse had previously been married to French cyclist Tony Gallopin. The former national champion road racer Rousse, 29, has made a successful conversion from athlete to sports broadcaster with Eurosport and France TV and was commentating live Sunday as her boyfriend crossed the line in Nice in tears.
He has yet to win a race this season
-- Alaphilippe rose to world No.1 in the UCI rankings after his 12 wins in 2019, his greatest season so far since turning pro in 2014. But he hasn't won a race so far in 2020, although he was close at the Milan-San Remo. "I have not come here to win the Tour," said Alaphilippe, who is coached by his cousin Franck. "But I'll be going after more stage wins now, it'll be the cherry on the cake."