Video: Six things Alaphilippe did in final 500m are a lesson to all

Posted on: March 10th, 2019

Alaphilippe Strade-Bianche

Julian Alaphilippe sweeps into the downhill finishing straight in front of bumper crowds to claim Strade-Bianche. His last 600 metres was textbook crafty.

 

Julian Alaphilippe may have far more class than the rest of us, but it doesn’t mean we can’t learn from him.

His victory yesterday at Strade-Bianche is well worth a closer look. Anyone who races can take plenty from how he rode the final 500m; six things to be precise.

The Deceuninck-QuickStep rider pulled away with Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) and it was clear the race was between the duo.

Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) was with them having been dropped on the penultimate of 11 sectors of white Tuscan gravel before getting back on for the last kilometre.

The final battle unfolded up the Via Santa Catarina climb. They then dropped down into the Piazza del Campo for the spectacular finish in Siena.

It’s a testing finale; a steep final ramp at the end of a long hard race followed by a chicane and a descending finish.

 

 

Fuglsang made the first move in the finale, attacking from about 500m out as the road was kicking up. Van Aert was immediately dropped and was out of the picture, taking 3rd.

Alaphilippe clearly knew the finish like the back of his hand; his first big asset as he was going for victory.

The Frenchman was waiting for his rival’s to attack and rather than going after Fuglsang he moved at the same time.

He didn’t hesitate for a moment and therefore had no ground to make up. Allowing any gap, even a metre or two, to emerge between himself and Fuglsang would have handed the aggressor a crucial advantage so late in the race.

Alaphilippe then stuck to Fuglsang’s back wheel like glue, staying in his slipstream (tight on his wheel) for a brief period.

However, just as they were about to reach the top of the climb for the twisty flat section followed by the downhill, Alaphilippe went past.

You can see from the clip he made a very specific effort to be in front at the moment the climb ended and the technical part begun.

He knew that once the twisting and turning started on the flat and downhill section, everything would be over in an instant. He’d have no time to overtake anyone and it would be too hard to pass.

He treated the top of the climb as if it were the finish line; making sure he was first on the road at that point. And once he got his nose in front he was in the driving seat.

From that point it was full commitment; he simply went for it. There was no half efforts or saving a bit for the sprint if Fuglsang drew level. He had his advantage and grabbed it with two hands.

There were then three corners to negotiate and several curves in the road; Alaphilippe pressing hard all the way.

He continued to press on the pedals right up to the finish line, leaving no chance of messing up and being pipped on the line.

In total six things he did (and his legs of course – Ed) meant he owned the finale:

  1. He’d clearly studied the final 500 metres very closely.
  2. He moved with, not after, Fuglsang when he attacked.
  3. Once on his wheel he stayed tight on it and used him, keeping him on the front for just as long as he wanted.
  4. He treated the top of the climb like it was the finish as overtaking opportunities were minimal after that.
  5. Once in front he fully committed, no half measures.
  6. He kept pedaling all the way to the line; no elaborate showing off as he knew his rival was just behind.

In short; know the run-in to the finish, don’t let your rivals get ahead late in the race, thus giving yourself work to close gaps.

If the finish is technical – particularly with late turns – don’t be afraid to be first into them.

You may not win but you give yourself the best chance and even if some riders pass you, few will and you should still get a good result.

 

Alaphilippe Strade-Bianche

Alaphilippe Strade-Bianche

Alaphilippe Strade-Bianche

Alaphilippe Strade-Bianche

Alaphilippe Strade-Bianche

Alaphilippe Strade-Bianche

Alaphilippe Strade-Bianche

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