World champion a few years ago, a Frenchman could well find himself without a team next season, despite a contract running until the end of 2024 in his current formation. In fact, it could file for bankruptcy and leave all its members stranded, without an employer and without a team for the coming year.
The Soudal Quick-Step cycling team has been looking for a sponsor and new funding for a while now. And it should finally be absorbed by the Jumbo Visma formation. However, the Belgian team has more than 20 riders committed for 2024, who could therefore find themselves without a team while most of the squads are completed for next season.
Among them, the double world champion 2020 and 2021, Julian Alaphilippe. The Frenchman is coming off two disappointing seasons marked by numerous falls and injuries. If he hardly seems able to get back to his best level, the native of Saint-Amand-Montrond has an enviable track record, which should theoretically help him find a team quickly. He notably won six stages of the Tour de France, a Milan-San Remo, three Flèches Wallonnes, a Clasica San Sebastian and a jersey for best climber of the Tour, not to mention his magnificent 2019 Tour de France, during which he kept the jersey yellow until the 19th step.
There has long been talk of a transfer to the French team TotalEnergies, but Julian Alaphilippe had to honor his contract with Soudal Quick-Step until the end of the 2024 season. Ultimately, it could therefore be that the arrival of the world champion is happening faster than expected. Asked about the question, Jean-René Bernaudeau, the boss of the TotalEnergies team, explained to Le Parisien: “He has an agent and I am not going to take the first step. If the phone rings to talk about Julian, I will see to that time”.
The CEO of Total, Patrick Pouyanné, had also mentioned in an interview for L’Equipe that he would appreciate recruiting Julian Alaphilippe and that a budgetary extension would not be excluded if such an opportunity presented itself. It remains to be seen if the double world champion wants to join the Vendée team, or if other more attractive projects will be offered to him after his current team files for bankruptcy. In any case, there is little chance for him to remain in the fold of Jumbo Visma after the merger, since all the contracts of the Soudal Quick-Step riders should be rendered null and void.