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Tour de France.  Laurent Jalabert: “Alaphilippe will play for the general classification…” – The 2021 Tour de France in Brest

Tour de France, Grand Départ of Brest, Saturday

Laurent Jalabert. (Photo France Televisions)


It was there that I won my first professional victory (he totaled 139). It was during the first stage of the Tour d’Armorique 1989 (wearing the Toshiba jersey), it was a bit as if I had won the lottery. I had put on the leader’s jersey at the finish line and as all the stages ended in a sprint, the general classification (which he had also won) had been played out for places. During the week, I was so stressed that I didn’t sleep at night. I had no confidence in myself at all.

Tour de France.  Laurent Jalabert: “Alaphilippe will play for the general classification…” – The 2021 Tour de France in Brest

The Tour in Brittany

It was in Vitré (35) that I donned the yellow jersey for the first time. July 3, 1995, one year to the day after my terrible fall from Armentières (triple fracture of the jaw). It was a beautiful symbol. I had won the bonus sprint at Saint-Méen-le-Grand, at Louison Bobet’s, and I had stripped Jacky Durand of the jersey. (Five years later, Jalabert also wore the yellow jersey during the Vannes-Vitré stage. He had lost it the next day).

The 2021 Tour

It should still be played between Pogacar and Roglic, although the Ineos will be in the game. Roglic will arrive with the freshness that it lacked last year, I make it my favorite. It’s up to him not to be afraid of losing. Pogacar gives the impression of not feeling the pressure. The Tour should be played in the Pyrenees where the difficulties are concentrated. Why not in the Col du Portet towards Saint-Lary-Soulan (17th stage)? It is a building site.

The French

In my opinion, Julian Alaphilippe will play the general classification. He hid his game a little, he favored the Tour de Suisse over the Dauphiné, for example. When you go on reconnaissance on the Ventoux, it is not trivial, it is that you have the head in the general. He should be the best French in Paris. It will be interesting to see what David Gaudu will achieve. The status of leader does not seem to weigh on him. Between 5th and 10th, it’s quite playable.

Mathieu van der Poel

This is the one that gives me the most emotion. Because he is spectacular, because he runs on instinct, because he has class, quite simply. Good in this register, Van Aert and Alaphilippe are not bad, either. On this Tour, I think Van der Poel will run for ten days, slam one or two stages and take the jersey.

The new generation

I’m not particularly surprised to see Pogacar and Bernal win the Tour de France so young. Hinault and Fignon also won their first Tour at 23. The very good ones do not take long to hatch. Regarding Evenepoel, I’m waiting to see. He is impressive but I like him less. When he says that Eddy Merckx’s five victories in the Tour de France did not impress him, I find that astonishing. A little humility doesn’t hurt anyone. Personally, I am more impressed with Pogacar. Last year, on the morning of the La Planche des Belles Filles time trial, I was convinced that he could turn the situation around. He is not afraid of anything and tactically, he can still be improved.

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