He didn’t learn and almost paid for it again. As in Sunday in Liège, French cyclist Julian Alaphilippe celebrated prematurely with his hands raised in front of the finish line, but this time he did not lose his triumph. In the Belgian classic Brabant Arrow, he celebrated his first victory in the rainbow jersey of the world champion.
Twenty-eight-year-old Alaphilippe won the spurt of a three-member group of refugees at the end of a 197 km long race and repaid last year’s defeat to Mathieu Van der Poel. The Dutch fellow Bavaria appeared right next to the French at the finish line, when Alaphilippe was already commuting with his hands raised. However, the target camera confirmed the victory of the world champion by centimeters. Another Frenchman, Benoit Cosnefroy, finished third.
Alaphilippe similarly celebrated prematurely on Sunday at the Liège-Bastogne-Liège monument, where he was eventually transferred to fifth place for limiting his opponents in the spurt. “I didn’t take it as revenge. I just wanted to race the way I like to race, and I’m happy that I managed to win. Just riding in a rainbow jersey is amazing and winning is even sweeter,” said the world champion from Imola.
The winner of the Brabant Arrow from 2016, Petr Vakoč, finished in 39th place. Zdeněk Štybar, who helped his Deceuninck-Quick Step teammate Alaphilippe during the race, finished seventy-fourth.