He traveled the last 200 meters, like a disjointed puppet, his head bubbling where a multitude of feelings were undoubtedly intertwined with the approach of a world coronation.
Then there were tears as I got off the bike and on the podium when the Marseillaise sounded.
With Julian Alaphilippe, victories are often stamped with emotion.
As in his first stage victory in the Tour de France in Le Grand Bornand on July 17, 2018 a few months after the first stroke of his father Jacques.
"Either I sank to look back on my father's fate, or I used it as a force, I know he was watching, it's a lot of emotions," he whispered between two sobs.
"Julian has always sought to pay tribute to him"
The age difference has sometimes made the relationship between father and son complex but the overactive kid who grew up in a low-cost housing estate in the Fontbouillant district in Montluçon (Allier) has always been guided by the quest to "make him proud" .
"Our father gave us everything, taught us everything, Julian has always sought to pay tribute to him", confides his brother Bryan.
Extrovert on the outside, the showman who likes to play and share with the public, is in fact deeply modest.
His childhood, when the family was not rolling in gold, even if he lived it in a deeply happy way, gave him an inner rage and a great strength of character.
On June 27, Jo, the former musician who capsized hearts at balls and weddings in the Allier or the Cher, died in the Montluçon hospital.
He was the one who found Julian's first bike at Emmaüs, then took out a loan for his first “real” racing bike.
He sometimes accompanied her in the evenings by the light of the headlights of his car when Julian was finishing his apprenticeship days in a cycle shop.
VIDEO. Tour de France: Alaphilippe in tears after his victory in Nice
Tour de France: Alaphilippe in tears after his victory in Nice
After the funeral, the son to "Jo" had a difficult summer.
He could no longer win (13 months of failure) and the pain of the absence was immense.
His tears during his success at the 2nd stage of the Tour de France in Nice on August 30 were still directed towards this father who has now disappeared.
But he was true to the promise he made to himself.
He also freed himself from an immense weight.
"He had very complicated times with the death of our father, it was the year when he was the least favorite, but he still showed that he had incredible mental strength", underlines Bryan, pro at St Michel Auber 93, who played Paris-Chauny this Sunday.
On the phone, when they called each other, the two brothers were in tears.
In the family pavilion of Désertines, the emotion was also at its height.
Mother Catherine did not wish to speak.
"There are too many feelings that mix, we need to live that a little between us, these are very strong moments for my family", continues Bryan.
This world coronation indeed occurs three months to the day after the death of Jacques Alaphilippe.
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PODCAST. A Tour in the name of the father
A Tour in the name of the father
On the podium, Julian admits "a thought for my family, my relatives and my cousin Franck
(Editor's note: his trainer)
“It's like when the French football team was world champion, it's the Grail, continues Bryan.
Even if his stage victories in the Tour de France were intense, this has nothing to do with it.
It is even stronger especially in these circumstances.
My brother has always dreamed of this jersey.
He will celebrate it on Wednesday during the Flèche Wallonne.
His favorite race, the one in which he revealed himself to the general public by his 2nd place in 2015 and which he won over the past two years.