Frustrated? I'm proud – Alaphilippe not dwelling on Tour de France collapse
Julian Alaphilippe insisted he was not frustrated about finishing fifth in the Tour de France despite leading the race for 14 days.
The 27-year-old Deceuninck-Quick Step rider took the overall lead in stage three and held the yellow jersey for two weeks in total, though he relinquished it to Giulio Ciccone for two days in the opening week.
Alaphilippe remained in charge in the latter stages but began to show signs of weakness in the Alps, just about staying ahead of eventual winner Egan Bernal at the end of stage 18.
Bernal took the lead when the 19th stage was cut short due to hail and mudslides and Alaphilippe lost further ground on the final competitive day on Saturday, slipping from second to fifth on the climb to Val Thorens.
Despite falling agonisingly short of becoming the first Frenchman to win the Tour since 1985, Alaphilippe refused to give in to negative thoughts.
"Why should I be frustrated?" he said. "I'm just exhausted, happy, proud of what I did, what we did with the team that wasn't the best equipped to win. We've had some great times.
"In my career, it will have changed a lot of things. It's just sport, moments of life you have to enjoy. It's nice.
"I gave it my all. I think it was hard to do better. I was expecting to explode at some point, but I still maintained well.
"I'm very proud of what my team-mate Enric Mas did for me, it was his job and he did it really well. Without him, I would've finished at a quarter-of-an-hour I think. That's my temperament. With me, it's a bit all or nothing.
"I was second overall before the stage this morning. If I was second, or fifth, it was the same for me, but I fought because I didn't want to have any regrets.
"I can only be proud of my Tour. It's even way beyond what I would have imagined."