The former double world champion will thus miss out on the much-anticipated debut of his teammate Remco Evenepoel in the Tour, which Alaphilippe has raced six times in the last eight years, and will instead lead the Soudal-QuickStep team in Italy in May.
Alaphilippe was not present at the Soudal-QuickStep team presentation in Calpe on Tuesday as he currently is in Australia to race the Santos Tour Down Under.
But in an interview with L’Équipe, the former Tour de France leader and stage winner confirmed his shift of program to the Giro d’Italia for 2024. Prior to his debut in the Italian Grand Tour, the Frenchman will also return to more familiar terrain at Strade Bianche and Milan-San Remo – both of which he won in 2019 – Tirreno-Adriatico and the Flemish Classics.
Regarding the decision to do the Giro rather than the Tour, Alaphilippe said, “It’s by no means a punishment or a non-selection. Doing the Giro has been at the back of my mind for some time now.
“The question was more to do with ‘When shall I decide to go?’ and I thought ‘why not this year? Looking at [races in] Australia, the Classics and the Giro, I felt like a change.”
Alaphilippe claimed that when he suggested the idea to Patrick Lefevere, the QuickStep boss had agreed, apparently saying that he did not want to see Alaphilippe working for Evenepoel in the Tour.
“It’s neither my remit nor my full worth to do that,” Alaphilippe told L’Équipe.
He denied that he would have had problems working for Evenepoel, pointing out that he had done so in the Vuelta a España 2022, which the Belgian won. Rather his argument in favour of not repeating that role in the 2024 Tour de France was more to do with having different goals.
When it was pointed out to him that in a contract year, not going to the Tour could look like he was not willing to go along with the team’s overall strategy, Alaphilippe said, “I know it could be seen like that, but really, I don’t care.
“It’s my decision, I designed my program and it was confirmed by the team so that way we’d go for stage wins in the Giro and then the GC [with Evenepoel] in the Tour.”
Alaphilippe said he had a rollercoaster season in 2023, preceded by an even tougher 2022, where he had a major crash and serious injury at…