He started his day "excited like a cadet competing in his first race", in the words of Franck Alaphilippe, his cousin and trainer.
Leaving the bus, while the instructions were to quickly spin at the start, Julian cracked when he saw a child handing him an autograph book and began an impromptu signing session.
Behind, his teammate Florian Sénéchal waited, completely forgotten by the crowd who only had eyes for the double world champion.
Six hours later, Alaphilippe crossed the line in 13th position and rushed to congratulate Sénéchal, the new French champion… whom everyone was now watching.
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