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Julian Alaphilippe could move to Total Direct Energie on €4m per year deal

Frenchman subject to big money offer from ProContinental team in bid to bolster WorldTour bid

Joe Robinson
29 Apr 2019

Julian Alaphilippe's exceptional spring could have earned him a bumper payday as it was reported that French ProContinental team Total Direct Energie are willing to offer him a contract worth €4 million a year.

Reported in both French and Italian press over the weekend, Total Direct Energie is in 'pole position' to acquire the talents of the recent winner of Fleche Wallonne who currently rides for Deceuninck-QuickStep.

Both reports suggest that the deal would be worth around €4 million per year, among one of the highest yearly salaries in the sport.

Alaphilippe has proved his worth as one of the world's best riders with 10 victories already this season. The Frenchman is also the only rider to have won three one-day WorldTour races this season, at Strade Bianche, Fleche Wallonne and Milan-San Remo.

It is reported that Alaphilippe's current contract ends at the end of this year and that Deceuninck-QuickStep could find themselves priced out by rival teams.

Early in the season, team boss Patrick Lefevere admitted that it would be a 'difficult time' if another team were to offer Alaphilippe a significant pay rise.

It's a problem that Lefevere has faced for quite some time. Despite their dominance on the road, the Belgian team's budget is modest compared to their rivals and while they have the draw of riding for the most successful one-day team, money often finds itself a winning factor.

This happened as recently as this winter when Lefevere was forced into letting Fernando Gaviria and Niki Terpstra leave the team in order to stem worries over budget.

As it stands, Alaphilippe's potential move would see the 26-year-old drop out of the WorldTour with Total Direct Energie currently among the second division ProContinental teams. However, with the recent investment of French oil and gas company Total, it is expected the team will apply to become part of the WorldTour from 2020.

Under new UCI rules, teams within the WorldTour be secured a licence for three years as the total number of WorldTour teams rises from 18 to 20. 

The team, which has been outside of the WorldTour since 2011, had already shown its intentions to become a force in cycling again with the signing of Alaphilippe's former teammate Niki Terpstra over the winter.

While Terpstra's spring was set back by a heavy crash at the Tour of Flanders, the team performed well with the likes of Anthony Turgis and Adrien Petit taking good results.