The peloton is always nervous in the first stage of the Tour de France and if Andre Greipel could not contest the final sprint after being delayed by the crash of Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) less than two kilometres from the finish, Arkéa-Samsic escaped unscathed from the opening stage of the Tour.
Warren Barguil : “This French champion jersey is doing me a lot of good. It helped me put tough times behind and rewarded my hard work, which was done in a period of doubt, which is never easy. In this Tour de France, my goal is to avoid the traps of the first week before the route suits me better. To do as well as in 2017 (two stage wins and the polka dot jersey) will be difficult but winning a stage would be very good. It’s what the team expects from me.
Andre Greipel : “I think it was hard for everyone. Flo was always here to put me in the right position but I was alone for the last kilometres. The last four were very difficult. I felt like a ball in a pinball, it was going left then right. I’m happy i didn’t crash today. I was right behind. I was able to sprint but I was not well positioned in the last 800 metres. I just gave everything I had until the finish line. I feel much better than at the Dauphine, you can’t even compare. I just need a little bit of luck. I’m doing the maximum. I think my condition will improve, step by step. ”
Yvon Ledanois : “Today, I think all the riders have suffered in this stage. The crowds were crazy, there were small roads, sometimes steep. It drained a lot of mental energy from the riders. You just cross your fingers that none of your riders will crash – some were held up behind the crashes but none of them hit the deck which is what matters tonight. to not have runners of your team in the falls. The last pileup, 1.6 kilometres from the finish, occurred between 13th and 35th place in the pack and then we had no one in the top 30. We couldn’t get a result, but on the slightly uphill finale it would have been difficult anyway. There was a rather tense moment before the cobbled section of Thiméon 77 kilometres from the finish but there was no need to panic. The peloton was blown up, nobody slowed down because of te upcoming intermediate sprint. Then we had some headwind and it was therefore necessary to stay calm and that’s what we did. Now it’s time to focus on the team time trial tomorrow. We checked the course by car as it was not possible to do it by bike because of traffic.In terms of result, I expect us to finish between 13th and 18th place among the teams within a 20 or 30-second time span.”