PRO CONTINENTAL TEAM ARKEA-SAMSIC TO RIDE CANYON IN 2020

We are really happy to announce that from Jan 1, 2020, the Arkea Samsic team will ride Canyon bikes. Our riders will be supplied with German, world class equipment. Together we will ride to reach our goal of excellence.

Warren Barguil’s “Ultimate” in 2020. Picture : Canyon

Emmanuel Hubert, General Manager of Arkea-Samsic, states: “We’ve signed a two-year deal with Canyon – a premium and an innovative, proven brand with years of experience on the professional circuit. This partnership will allow our riders to benefit from Canyon’s world-class, cutting-edge bikes and tech from the start of 2020. We’re really proud and excited to be able to work so closely with an industry leader like Canyon and to represent them in the pro racing ranks. Canyon have racing in their DNA and are constantly striving to hone and perfect their bikes and technology. Working together with them only strengthens our status as a strong team with big ambitions for the future, and the desire to secure big results at the world’s biggest races.”

Roman Arnold, Founder and CEO of Canyon Bicycles, explains: “Professional cycling drives Canyon as a company and as a brand. Our engagement in the pro peloton motivates us to always think innovatively, to push the boundaries of technology and engineering, and put all our knowledge, experience and expertise into creating class-leading, race-winning bikes. And working with the world’s best teams and athletes is vital in achieving that. I can’t wait to start collaborating with Arkea-Samsic, because they are a team who share our own singular focus – dedicating everything to achieving great things. With Warren Barguil, Nairo Quintana and Nacer Bouhanni, we’ve got a talented line-up for the coming season who will be bringing a huge depth of talent, experience, and leadership to the road.”

When it comes to pro sports, Canyon’s ethos is to provide the best riders with the best equipment. It’s a strategy that pays off with consistent success at every level of the sport – from cyclocross to Classics and Grand Tours. And now, Warren Barguil and his teammates will be primed for victory with a new range of world-class equipment at their disposal. The Ultimate is an outstanding climber in the mountains, the Aeroad is as aero as they come on fast stages, and the Speedmax time trial bike has proven its racing credentials time and time again.

Picture : Canyon

Lukasz Owsian : ” I want to show who I am “

Lukasz Owsian : « This is a big change in my career since since I turned professional in 2012, I have always been with the CCC team. I believe that with Arkea-Samsic I can reach a new level. I am very motivated, I want to show who I am. I like the hilly races and especially I like to ride fast for a long time, whether at the head of the pack or in the breakaways. I will do everything to help the team to get good results. I do not speak French yet but it is an opportunity to learn a new language — one of cycling’s many opportunities. I still live in Poland but in the winter I go to Spain often because in my country it snows a lot and it’s hard to train well there. »

Dan McLay : ” happy to be back “

Dan McLay : « I’m really happy to be back in the team. I’be got great memories here, especially from 2016 when I finished third in a Tour de France stage. Then I spent two seasons at Education first, I wanted to discover the World Tour but unfortunately those were not my two best years. In this structure that I know, I hope to get back to the level I had in 2017. My main objective will be to help the sprinters’ group. Claiming an individual win is something strong but help someone else win is equally strong ! When everything goes well in a sprint and you lead your sprinter out to put him in the best conditions, it’s also exciting. I don’t know Nacer very well but I think that together we can go very fast. »

Thomas Boudat : “it’s motivating for everyone”

« The Arkea-Samsic project was appealing to me. The team has been improving year after year and it is an exciting project for climbers and sprinters, it’s motivating for everyone. I’m still young and I want to find my place, to prove that I can win good races. Like a lot of riders, I dream of a Tour de France stage win, we all work for that. The management will allow me to perform individually on some races. Next year, my goal will be to get results quickly. I’m not a pure sprinter, I like when races are hard because I go up the hills pretty well. This year for instance I won from breakaways. I adapt to race strategies easily and at the end of the day, who cares how I win if I win. »

Nacer Bouhanni chez Arkéa-Samsic

 

How are you approaching the 2020 season?

« I am very happy to race for Arkea-Samsic in the coming seasons. For me, it’s a new beginning. I will start the season as if I had never won anything. I did not ask to come with a specific staff or specific riders, I want to focus on myself, for the rest I trust the management of the team. »

Did you think about quitting cycling after two complicated seasons?

« I’ve had significant falls and disappointments over the course of my career, but cycling is my life. I am passionate ! I have been riding since I was 6. Riding brought me a lot, I could not give up. When I was doing well as a young rider I would head ‘Bouhanni has had results this year but next season we won’t hear about him anymore.’ I grew with that, it’s part of me. I respond to criticism on the bike, that’s what I do. »

What do you think about this image of a bad boy that you have? « I have character, I will not deny it but I think that it is the case for all top athletes. Over the years, I learn, I evolve, I made mistakes in my career — in the way I communicated or behaved — but I’m not a bad boy. At first glance I am rather reserved, even shy, yet I like the contact. I immediately had a good feeling with Emmanuel. It played a big part in my decision. »

What are your goals for the next season? « Some races make me dream: Milan-Sanremo, a stage on the Tour, but for now I just want to win. This year is the first year I haven’t won as a pro. I want to get back to my winning ways and grow with the team. »

 

Nacer Bouhanni and Thomas Boudat to spearhead Arkéa-Samsic sprinters’ pole

The Arkea-Samsic team is pleased to unveil its sprinters pole, starring Nacer Bouhanni and Thomas Boudat. Daniel McLay returns in a new role of lead-out rider after two seasons abroad. In the last kilometres, the team will rely on two young Belgian recruits: Christophe Noppe and Benjamin Declercq. Poland’s Lukasz Owsian is also a new addition to the team. Bram Welten, Connor Swift and Clément Russo have also been added to the 2020 sprinters’ pole.

Emmanuel Hubert – general manager : « In 2020, we want to be like a World Tour team. We know that 70% of the races end up in a sprint; we had to strengthen the team in that department. For a sprinter, every detail matters and I will rely on Sébastien Hinault to coordinate. Nacer Bouhanni will be our number one sprinter. He has huge qualities. He has been through two difficult years, he must regain confidence and bond with the riders who will launch his sprints. We have recalled Dan McLay, whom we know well, to support him in the final straights, I think there is a good potential chemistry between the two. We aim to be competitive on several fronts. Thomas Boudat will have all the freedom to express himself. I believe we are presenting a full group with great sprinting potential. Our riders are ready to work a lot this winter to put the everything in place and be efficient on race days. »

Nacer Bouhanni

 

How are you approaching the 2020 season?
« I am very happy to race for Arkea-Samsic in the coming seasons. For me, it’s a new beginning. I will start the season as if I had never won anything. I did not ask to come with a specific staff or specific riders, I want to focus on myself, for the rest I trust the management of the team. »

Did you think about quitting cycling after two complicated seasons?
« I’ve had significant falls and disappointments over the course of my career, but cycling is my life. I am passionate ! I have been riding since I was 6. Riding brought me a lot, I could not give up. When I was doing well as a young rider I would head ‘Bouhanni has had results this year but next season we won’t hear about him anymore.’ I grew with that, it’s part of me. I respond to criticism on the bike, that’s what I do. »

What do you think about this image of a bad boy that you have? « I have character, I will not deny it but I think that it is the case for all top athletes. Over the years, I learn, I evolve, I made mistakes in my career — in the way I communicated or behaved — but I’m not a bad boy. At first glance I am rather reserved, even shy, yet I like the contact. I immediately had a good feeling with Emmanuel. It played a big part in my decision. »

What are your goals for the next season? « Some races make me dream: Milan-Sanremo, a stage on the Tour, but for now I just want to win. This year is the first year I haven’t won as a pro. I want to get back to my winning ways and grow with the team. »

Thomas Boudat

« The Arkea-Samsic project was appealing to me. The team has been improving year after year and it is an exciting project for climbers and sprinters, it’s motivating for everyone. I’m still young and I want to find my place, to prove that I can win good races. Like a lot of riders, I dream of a Tour de France stage win, we all work for that. The management will allow me to perform individually on some races. Next year, my goal will be to get results quickly. I’m not a pure sprinter, I like when races are hard because I go up the hills pretty well. This year for instance I won from breakaways. I adapt to race strategies easily and at the end of the day, who cares how I win if I win. »

Daniel McLay

« I’m really happy to be back in the team. I’be got great memories here, especially from 2016 when I finished third in a Tour de France stage. Then I spent two seasons at Education first, I wanted to discover the World Tour but unfortunately those were not my two best years. In this structure that I know, I hope to get back to the level I had in 2017. My main objective will be to help the sprinters’ group. Claiming an individual win is something strong but help someone else win is equally strong ! When everything goes well in a sprint and you lead your sprinter out to put him in the best conditions, it’s also exciting. I don’t know Nacer very well but I think that together we can go very fast. »

Christophe Noppe

« After meeting with Emmanuel Hubert, I did not hesitate a second. It is an honour to join the Arkea-Samsic team and to compete with its great leaders. My role will be to help the sprinters. I can ride fast in the last kilometre. I also like classics: cobblestones are my thing. On Paris-Roubaix, a day when everything is fine, I know that I can go for a nice result. I will give everything I have to get the best result possible, for the sprinters or on the classics. Personally, I do not know many riders of the team … but I went on holidays in Brittany! It’s the beginning of an adventure for me. »

Benjamin Declercq

« I am happy, proud and impatient to ride for Arkea-Samsic! With my brother Tim Declercq, who rides with Deceuninck-Quick Step, we played football at first. But in Belgium, we are quickly caught up in cycling. Even if we do not come from a family of cyclists, we have always watched the classics and the Tour de France on television. I live in Flanders, inevitably I feel pretty comfortable on the cobblestones. Next year, my goal will be to prepare the best sprints for my leaders and to play my card on the classics. I hope to spring surprises. I got a master in Economy before I turned 100% to cycling and I’m loving it. »

Lukasz Owsian

« This is a big change in my career since since I turned professional in 2012, I have always been with the CCC team. I believe that with Arkea-Samsic I can reach a new level. I am very motivated, I want to show who I am. I like the hilly races and especially I like to ride fast for a long time, whether at the head of the pack or in the breakaways. I will do everything to help the team to get good results. I do not speak French yet but it is an opportunity to learn a new language — one of cycling’s many opportunities. I still live in Poland but in the winter I go to Spain often because in my country it snows a lot and it’s hard to train well there. »

Andre Greipel won’t be with Arkea-Samsic in 2020

André Greipel and the team Arkéa Samsic confirm the dissolution of the contract on 31.12.2019.

André Greipel : « About 4 weeks ago I asked the management of the team to terminate the contract towards the end of the year. Emmanuel Hubert and the team management have agreed to this request. I am very grateful for the cooperation we had in 2019.

I would have liked to have extended the season statistics, but I was not optimally prepared for my season highlights. In the first half of the season I had to fight several months with a bacterial disease and once 100% healed, unfortunately, this was only two weeks before the Tour de France.

The Sparkassen Münsterland Giro on 03.10.2019 will be my last race in the 2019 season and also my last race for the Team Arkéa Samsic. Being at the start in Germany is always a special event for a German rider. Of course, we will prepare very well and work towards a top result in this final race. After this, I will start my recovery and a family vacation.

Until the beginning of November, I will leave my social media accounts silent and am not available for requests from the media. In the week of 4.-10. November I will inform you about the 2020 cycling season. Dear cycling friends, dear fans : i cannot thank you enough for your understanding and your ongoing support. »

Emmanuel Hubert – manager : « I am obviously disappointed by Andre’s performances this season even if I know he is the first affected. Our results together are far from satisfying. Getting out to the contract was an option, we are not opposed. It doesn’t take away anything from his human qualities which were greatly appreciated within the team or from the experience he brought to the squad. Personally, I met a great champion and a good person. I wish him good luck in his future endeavors. »

  Barguil puts pen to paper on contract extension until 2022

Warren Barguil, the 2019 French champion, extends his contract with Arkea-Samsic until 2022

Emmanuel Hubert, general manager: “I am very happy to announce that Warren Barguil has extended his contract until 2022. He still had a year with us, but on both sides, we prefer working on the long term and build something together. Warren is at the image of the team, he weathered the storm when needed and found the resources to bounce back. In the future we want him to fight for GC in grands tours, I think he has the qualities to aim for that. With the arrival of Nairo Quintana, we will be able to rely on two great leaders in the mountains. They signed to work together for three seasons, it gives us time to get well oiled to reach our goal.”

An interview with Warren Barguil
You will be with Arkea-Samsic until 2022, how do you fell about that?

I’m very happy to be part of Emmanuel Hubert’s project. I’m ending my second season with the team and I’m about to do three more. I know that a professional career goes by fast. We’ve had a difficult 2018 season but you have o go through these tough moment to grow. The easy solution would have been to join a team where everything is already built, but I’d rather be part of a growing project. I feel good at Arkea-Samsic, I have good teammates, a competent staff, we have solid sponsors… I found a good balance here

Can you talk us through your personal history with the team ?
I was first attracted by the ‘Breton’ identity, it’s something important to me. There was a risk in 2017 because it was the beginning of the project, it’s always like because you depend on wildcards but I accept it. The first year was not easy. When racing abroad I was far from the pressure of the media but I grew up with the team. Last winter, I focused on myself I stopped listening to everyone, I trained well, rode fast just like I love and I enjoyed myself a lot on the bike. Then I had a lot of bad luck on Paris-Nice and the Vuelta a Catalunya. The team supported me and always believed in me. I was so happy to wrap the French title, it was an immense joy for me and I shared it with the whole team.

Another great leader, Nairo Quintana, is joining Arkea-Samsic next season. How do you see your collaboration?
It’s a clear asset for the team but also for me. He already won two grands tours, he knows how to prepare and race for GC. From that point of view, he has a lot to bring to the team.

What are your ambitions for next season?
We will have to discuss it with the management but my goal would be to test myself on a grand tour GC. I also want to win with the blue, white and red jersey. I was really close on the Artic Race of Norway. I don’t win often so I will need to be patient and smart but it’s extra motivation

 

Nairo Quintana opts for Arkea-Samsic project

Team Arkea-Samsic is happy to unveil the signings of Nairo Quintana, Winner Anacona, Dayer Quintana and Diego Rosa for the seasons to come. In the continuity of its project, the outfit strengthens its squad to shine on the grands tours and perform on all terrains.

Emmanuel Hubert – general manager : “We are proud to welcome a great leader, Nairo Quintana, as well as three very good climbers, Winner Anacona, Dayer Quintana and Diego Rosa. On paper, our 28-man team will have nothing to fear against the best teams of the World Tour. Our goal is to win a grand tour within three seasons. The alliance of Nairo Quintana and Warren Barguil must be an extra asset for them. They need to use one another to improve. Nairo Quintana has several grand tour podiums to his name but I’m convinced that Warren Barguil has what it takes to be a GC contender – that’s where we want to take him. Around our two leaders we want to shape a solid group of climbers. I believe that the bonds you make at a camp or at training make the strength of a squad in competition. That’s why we will have a training camp in southern France dedicated to the great riders of our team. With the backing of two great sponsors, Arkea and Samsic, we want to be competitive on all terrains, which means be there in the sprints. We will make an announcement in mid-September. My goal is to build one of the most beautiful teams in the world. It will require rigour and professionalism at every level. We’re not a ‘little’ family team anymore, but we want the people to be at the heart of our project. I wish that all our riders and all my collaborators will be committed to the project, then success will be collective.”

Arkea Samsic to be happy
“Team Arkea Samsic has been improving year after year. I have been following their development, I got interested in their project and most of all I like their ideology. I think it’s a team in which human values are important, essential, even. I was looking for a team in which I was going to be happy. I think it’s the key to fully blossom professionally.”

Same ambitions
“My ambitions are the same. Personally, the goal is to fight for victory on the Tour de France. It’s a turning point in my career, a positive one, I’m sure. 
I’m going to adapt, learn some French, but the most important is that I’m going to continue doing what I love. When I ride my bike I’m happy and in peace. Together, we’re going to do our best with the Arkea-Samsic jersey.”

A team
“It’s an interesting squad. I already know Warren because we’ve been racing together since we were young. The management has chosen to recruit riders close to me. For me it’s important to be again with Dayer, Winner Anacona and Diego Rosa.
They’re like family. That’s our culture – we strive with our loved ones and we want to shine for our country. I don’t know Brittany’s culture yet but I’ve been told there were similarities. We’ll see that in the Winter. We’re coming to Brittany to give everything we have – our legs and our hearts.”

Dayer Quintana : “I’m very happy to join Team Arkea-Samsic for the upcoming season. I arrive with a lot of motivation. It’s an important change for me who was in an Italian team, and for the others. There will be an adaptation time but it will be short. We believe a lot in this project and we want to make it a success.”

Winner Anacona : “Nairo came to talk to me during the season and he told me: ‘we have the opportunity to race for Arkea-Samsic in the coming years and help the team grow with our experience, what do you think of this challenge?’. I liked the idea, I’m attracted by challenges. I’ve always wanted to be a professional bike rider, I worked hard and fought to fulfill my dream without knowing if I would succeed. I now want to enjoy all my years at the top. My big mission will be to help Nairo and the climbers to reach the team’s goals. Like everyone I like to win. I have personal ambitions and I hope to seize my opportunities.”

Diego Rosa : “I raced for three years in one of the world’s best teams. At Ineos, I learned a lot but I was just one rider among others. When I met Emmanuel Hubert he explained his project to me and he wanted me to be part of it, saying he trusted me. I will be a domestique on the grands tours but I want to become a classics rider again. I sometimes had the feeling I was doing a job while what I want is be part of the race.”

Simply proud of our Tour de France

Manu Hubert: “During this Tour de France, Warren Barguil found the consistency and the balance many doubted he had. As far as I’m concerned I lived this Tour with serenity and had happy moments, too. From Brussels to Paris, there have been good positive waves, it feels good to work in such an atmosphere and that justifies everything that has been in place for two-three years. It’s starting to bear fruit. It was not until the last ascent that we secured the Top 10 overall, but if the stage had ended in Tignes on Friday, we would have been there earlier because Warren was off to a good start. The following day he did the job. Richie Porte cracked in the finale of Val Thorens and our leader finished 10th of the Tour, 7 minutes off the pace after being in the mix – not 20 minutes! I’m really going to encourage him to think about going for the general classification of a Grand Tour. We have already talked a lot about it and his future is there, he is made for that and it does not mean he cannot go for a stage win in the mountains. The atmosphere was healthy and Warren took his leadership role by showing the example, smiling, he made everyone comfortable. He was putting a lot of pressure on himself but he knew how not to communicate it to his entourage! I also remember that my team never gave up, it was something we had agreed on at the start of the Tour. To be bold and to stick together, to give everything. We saw it in the last mountain stage with Maxime Bouet escaping and Elie Gesbert staying with Warren in the finale. He is only 23 years old and he is improving very well despite a difficult start to the Tour but in the Pyrenees as well as in the Alps, he has shown his potential. We also had the chance to ride the Tour de France in blue, white and red and we got the best result for our team. It justifies the confidence of the organizers, bearing in mind we are still in the second division, with a wild card and always looking to grow more mature.

Warren Barguil: “The top 10 is a nice reward for myself and for Arkea-Samsic”

Today’s Tour de France stage was an odd one. Because of the previous day’s violent thunderstorms, the organisers were forced to change the course, taking the Cormet de Roselend and the Col de Longefoy out and leaving the lone climb up to Val Thorens. Warren Barguil who was long helped by Elie Gesbert, fought to claim a top 10 finish in GC and achieve his goal.

Warren Barguil: “It was an odd day, I was expecting a different scenario with a bunched pack at the top of the last climb. We had Maxime Bouet in front, it was important to have someone in the break. Flo Vachon positioned me perfectly at the foot of Val Thorens, he’s good at that, he was of great help during the whole Tour. Then I had Elie with me, it’s important to have support. We caught Max, he gave me a bottle and helped me bridge a gap, it’s something you don’t always see but it’s what makes the difference. I attacked with 5km to go. At that time I was not thinking about he stage of the GC but just about opening a gap. It was a regular climb not exactly what I prefer but I had nothing to lose. Then I paid for my efforts and I hung on to finish as good as I could, my legs were hurting. At the end of the day I finished 29 seconds behind Bernal. I’m happy to be in the top 10 of the Tour de France, for the team and for myself it’s a very good result. My team trusted me, I worked a lot and I got back to my best level. A top 10 on the greatest race in the world is good and gives me confidence for the future. I like te three-week races, I’m tough and tenacious I think it’s my strength on the Tour de France and in the third week. We did not reach our initial goal of a stage win with me but the top 10 shows consistency and it’s not over yet, we still have tomorrow on the Champs Elysees.

Elie Gesbert: “The last climb of the Tour was long and the peloton did not leave a big advantage to the breakaway in which Maxime Bouet featured. In the ascent to Val Thorens, Jumbo-Visma set a very high pace. I did everything I could to stay with Warren. It was a short and intense stage. We knew it would be like this and I feel better in these circumstances than on a high mountain stage, it suits me better. Warren ends up in the top 10 but I regret for him that Friday’s stage was cut short because he was on his way to be even higher in the GC. As far as I’m concerned, I’ve had a good Tour de France even if I would have hoped for more especially in the stage to Gap.”

Yvon Ledanois, sports director: “I will drink Champagne on Sunday night. For us it’s mission accomplished, at the start in Brussels our goal was a stage win or a good result in the GC. The top 10 is a very good result and it is very important for Warren after a very complicated year, that he could follow up on his superb 2017 Tour and show it was no fluke. We didn’t win a stage in the mountains but we were there in the tough stages. We can do better for sure but the other good point is that the guys are finishing this Tour well and Andre Greipel is super motivated for Sunday’s stage. Elie Gesbert finished the Tour very well, he likes these lone climbs like Val Thorens. Today he was a source of comfort for his leader. Overall, and because everyone was committed, the Arkea-Samsic team had a great Tour. Now we need a good result form Andre  tomorrow and we will have a drink together. Sunday, the riders will take the place to Paris at 1300 and the staff will be driving back.”

Warren Barguil still on course for a Top 10 

Nairo Quintana (Movistar) claimed a solo win the first Alpine stage of the Tour, marked by the presence in the breakaway of Amael Moinard. The Colombian moved into the top 10 of the GC. Warren Barguil, now 12th overall, admitted he was not on a great day but he is still in contact with the best and is on course to reach his objective.

Yvon Ledanois – sports director : « The big guns’ race started when Bernal (Team Ineos) attacked three kilometres from the top. Until then, the yellow jersey group rode a tempo but it was a fast race from the start. 34 riders escaped, including Amael Moinard. It was important that he was there. He gave everything to be in the front in the Col de Vars and Col d’Izoard and was there to feed Warren Barguil after Briancon. Warren was not on a great day and in these conditions, it’s good that he hung on and that he finished close to the best. Now there will be two races, the one to win the Tour and the one to be in the top 10, of which Arkea-Samsic is part.
The day Warren will be feeling good, he will have to race finely. Tomorrow and the day after tomorrow will be brutal with Ineos who will want to unsettle Alalphilippe with Bernal and Thomas. On the way to Tignes, it will be very difficult after a leg-snapping ride up the Col de l’Iseran.

Warren Barguil (12th in GC) : « I was good in the Izoard, I was not super in the Galibier. I was close to be up here with the best in the Galibier but I knew it would be hard to come back in the descent. I didn’t want to take too many risks. I’m at a good level, I was not that well today, I hope it was my bad day of the Tour.”

Amael Moinard : « Getting into the breakaway was the first big fight. It took a while to take shape. It went fast and with big names, it’s a good thing that I managed to be there. I hung on in the Izoard and I was caught in Briancon by Warren’s group. I was at my limit but I sheltered him fron the wind until the foot of the Lautaret, I gave him a last bottle and my job was done. I took my time in the last climb although I did not exactly had took time to enjoy the landscape. In the next two days there won’t be any surprises and I think it will be a fight between the top guns. Our goal will be to play first to be with Warren at the foot of the last ascent.”

Ready to fight

Team Arkea-Samsic missed out on the day’s breakaway and even if they worked for a few kilometres at the start of the stage to rein in the fugitives, the sports director eventually opted for the wise option. On Thursday morning in Embrun, Warren Barguil and his team mates will be fresh and motivated.

Yvon Ledanois : « I was upset that none of my riders were in the 34-man breakaway. I had them set the pace at the front and after five kilometres, seeing it was a lost cause I told them to stop. We needs fresh riders for the next three days. They needed to understand that they made a mistake but it was better no to insist. My riders are intelligent, they’re the most disappointed. And seeing who was in front, I was not going to sacrifice four or five riders before the upcoming stages. We’re been racing very weel since the beginning of the Tour, we made a mistake today but it doesn’t have any consequences.
Tomorrow it’s gonna be Vars – Izoard and Galibier. Two teams will need to control the race, Ineos and Groupama-FDJ and there will be a GC fight in the finale. Then, the Lautaret is long and leg-snapping. No well-placed GC rider will try anything but some will crack, I don’t know who but it will happen. Warren needs to be a spectator tomorrow and seize an opportunity if there is one.”

Warren Barguil : “I’ve had two quiet days in the peloton since the rest day. Last week in the Pyrenees I reached a good level in the mountains and I hope I will have the same legs in the Alps. Today, I’m 11th in GC, which was not my main goal at the start but with four days of racing left I want to defend my position and get the best possible result. It’s not incompatible with a stage win. It’s a beautiful Tour, it’s an open one and everybody will fight until the end. Tomorrow the stage goes through the Izoard and it brings back good memories. I think it’s the most beautiful and the hardest stage of this 2019 edition.”

Elie Gesbert et Warren Barguil ont fait la course en tête

L’équipe Arkéa-Samsic a été omniprésente tout au long de la quatorzième étape du Tour de France. Elie Gesbert, désigné le plus combattif du jour, a été échappé toute la journée et a vécu un très grand moment en abordant, seul, l’ascension du Tourmalet. Repris à 10 kilomètres de l’arrivée, il a vu son leader Warren Barguil attaquer dans le final avant de prendre une très belle neuvième place lui permettant de se rapprocher à grand pas du Top 10 au classement général.

Yvon Ledanois : « J’ai passé une bonne journée, le bilan est positif. Aujourd’hui, on n’a pas montré le maillot, on a fait la course en prenant nos responsabilités. Elie Gesbert sort la tête de l’eau, il a été au bagne pendant deux semaines et il en était malheureux mais il s’est rassuré dans le contre la montre. Je pense que ça l’a débloqué psychologiquement. Il était échappé tout seul dans le Tourmalet, ça procure beaucoup de belles choses pour lui. Pour Warren, c’était important aussi de savoir Elie devant en étant soutenu jusqu’au pied du Tourmalet par Amaël Moinard. Quand Warren a attaqué, tout le monde était à bloc, il a eu raison de le faire. Au vu de l’écart à l’arrivée, en prenant un peu plus de temps, 40 secondes, il aurait pu jouer un coup mais il n’est pas très loin du Warren Barguil de 2017. La dernière semaine va être bonne pour lui quand d’autres vont décliner. C’est bien qu’il ait bougé aujourd’hui, s’il ne bouge pas il finit peut être cinquième et à vingt secondes mais il sait maintenant qu’il a de super jambes. Ce soir, au classement général, il est treizième, pas loin du Top 10 mais qu’il reste concentré sur notre objectif de gagner une étape, le général viendra avec. »

Warren Barguil : “Dans le Tourmalet, il restait seulement Wout Poels (Team Ineos) pour faire le tempo. J’ai peut-être attaqué un peu tôt. Je me suis dit que c’était un faux tempo et que c’était bon pour moi, mais en fait non (il rigole). Après, c’est une belle étape, je finis neuvième. C’est bien pour Thibaut Pinot, on s‘est dit en cours de route qu’il devait aller la chercher… J’ai l’habitude de venir ici, dans le Tourmalet et c’est bien que je sois dans le final, je suis content de moi. Après un an et demi de galère, ça fait du bien. Je me sens au même niveau qu’en 2017 mais le niveau de ce Tour est plus élevé.”

Elie Gesbert : “J’avais très envie de tenter l’échappée aujourd’hui. Je suis sorti une première fois avec Nibali et Sagan, mais je ne me suis pas enflammé et j’ai attendu qu’un gros groupe ressorte. 17 coureurs à l’avant, ça commençait à être interessant, mais l’équipe Groupama-FDJ a très vite contrôlé. Ils ne nous ont jamais laissés plus de 3 minutes. Le premier col est arrivé assez vite, on s’est retrouvé à trois devant avec Wellens et Nibali, ils voulaient surtout se disputer les points du grimpeur. On est repris par les poursuivants au pied du Tourmalet. Sicard a porté une première attaque, je suis sorti derrière, je l’ai rattrapé et je suis parti seul. Pendant 5 kilomètres, j’ai profité de la foule et des encouragements, c’était incroyable et ça fait un bien fou au moral. À un moment, j’ai réalisé : « Je suis sur la Tour de France, dans une montée finale comme le Tourmalet et je suis seul en tête ». L’écart était faible au pied mais il faut toujours y croire sinon il ne faut pas prendre le départ. Depuis le début du Tour, je me fais un peu taper dessus, aujourd’hui j’ai retrouvé de bonnes sensations, c’est un vrai plaisir. “

Kévin Ledanois était dans la bonne échappée

It was a stage for a breakaway. With two categorised climbs far from the finish and on the eve of a very important time trial in Pau, the favourites stayed quiet. Kebin Ledanois went into the 38-man breakaway without being able to stay with the pure climbers in the last climb, notably Simon Yates (Mitchelton Scott) who won in Bagneres-de-Bigorre.

 

Kevin Ledanois : « I was well positioned to go into the breakaway, which was obviously going to be interesting. It was a fight during 50km. I was happy to be in front but I spent a lot of energy just to get there. I quickly felt that I didn’t have great legs but on the Tour, when you’re in front it’s the head that commands the legs and you give everything. In Peyresourde, I was fine at the foot, less at the top and I recovered in the descent before conceding defeat in the last ascent. Five km from the summit, I had nothing left in the tank, I rode at my own pace and took it easy in the descent. My day was done, it was useless to waste energy to finish 25th. I was caught by the favourites 4km from the line. It’s always a pleasure to be in the breakaway in the mountains even if I’m disappointed I was not in a good day. We have 12 stages in the legs, it weighs in the key moments. Even on a good day it would have been hard to go for the win but with that kind of finale I could have managed to get a good result. We have 10 days left to do well.”

“Winning a stage remains the goal” – TDF 10

A gust of crosswind, thirty kilometers from the finish, split the peloton into several groups and caused numerous casualties with Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), Fuglsang (Astana) or Porte (Trek-Segafredo)  at the wrong end of a split.  Flanked by Kevin Ledanois, Warren Barguil, who revels in these conditions, finished in the first group and moved up to   17th place in the general classification.

Warren Barguil : “It was a difficult day.  Before the last climb we had already raced well.  I was always well placed, the guys did a good job.  40km from the finish, we rode through a village and I always pay attention to road signs, I saw we would be taking a roundabout and be turning right.  I managed to take it well, and it started right after that.  Those who went to the left lost time.  I had a big gear 55-11 in the end it served me well, it was going very fast.  Then I got into Julian’s wheel to avoid all the traps.  We were in line, it must have slowed down a bit and I touched his wheel.  Landa was trying to go around my left hand side, I lost balance and touched him but not on purpose.  I lost my two pedals and he unfortunately ended up in the grass.  I found myself 5 meters from the group, Kevin saw him right away, he sat up and got me back into the wheels.  I avoided the crash miraculously.  Then I tried to hold on to the group.  It was a trying first week.  

Kevin Ledanois“I’m on the Tour to be with my leaders in these stages.  It’s not a victory to be in front, but I’m glad I did it today.  After yesterday, I was afraid of getting stuck in the end, but finally it was not too bad.  When Team Ineos accelerated before the final climb, I was well placed with Andre, who told us to stay there and not to back down.  Then we took the round about  on the right with Warren and we found ourselves in the top 15.  That’s when it started to go faster.  I went through a pot hole, I turned around and saw Warren.  I did not see the last kilometers pass, I was focused, I kept an eye on Warren.  It was a very intense day.  

Yvon Ledanois, sports director : “For us, it’s a good day.  Warren Barguil entered the Top 20 of the Tour and if I had been told he would do it before entering the mountain, I would have had a hard time believing it.  With what happened at the end of the stage, we will not scream victory.  I do not want to jump in the air, we cant be happy when our opponents go through a hard time, humility is part of our sport.  What happened to others can happen to us tomorrow.  The Tour can give you glory one day and take everything back in the matters of seconds.  Lets keep in mind that we have to go on like this, staying close to Warren.  He ended up with Kevin Ledanois who likes to fight for position and has been a reassuring support for our leader.  Some riders of our team like Andre Greipel could have been in front but they took a roundabout on the wrong side. Today, everyone was committed and that’s how we will get a result.  Anthony Delaplace told me midway through that he was cooked but he continued to work, he sacrificed himself, like all the riders on the team.  So tonight, we’re happy but the goal is to win a stage.  Warren will lose time in the time trial in Pau.  He may be more than five minutes behind after that.  He will not be among the most dangerous riders to watch and inevitably there will be an opportunity to seize.  The bodies are tired, it is a fact that must be taken into account.  We are happy to reach the rest day.  The guys will go, if they want, for a little ride in the morning.  It’s a super demanding Tour, if a rider does not want to ride tomorrow we will not ask him to. »

Warren Barguil leads by example

Today was the longest stage of the Tour de France between Belfort and Chalon sur Saone. Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo Visma) won a bunch sprint at the end of a long day on the saddle after a rough stage in the Vosges and before another tough ride to St Etienne. Warren Barguil contributed in support of Florian Vachon, Kevin Ledanois and Andre Greipel.

Yvon Ledanois, directeur sportif : “It was 230-km long with a head wind, it was a bit boring… There were two riders in the front but we knew the scenario, it was to be a bunch sprint. We don’t like this kind of stages but the distance and the hours in the saddle will take their toll before a stage like tomorrow’s. Today’s stage was an opportunity for the sprinters and Groenewegen seized it. Tomorrow will be a stage for the top breakaway specialists, like De Marchi (CCC). In this Tour we go from the mountains to the flat before following up with a very tough stage.  The bodies will be affected. To prepare Andre Greipel for the sprint the guys worked well and Warren Barguil came to the rescue in the last kilometres. Our riders have been working well and they have been following the plan. They left their sprinter where he wanted to be. He finishes 12th again. Saturday’s stage from Macon to St Etienne is a bit scary. It’s a series of climbs over 200 kilometres, it’s going to be very tiring. I think a 20-man break can go very far. As far as we’re concerned we’re going to see the riders in their rooms and assess our strengths because tomorrow we’re going to have to dig deep.”

Kevin Ledanois : “It was a weird day, tonight I don’t feel tired but I know the legs are going to be heavy tomorrow.  Every flat stage is an opportunity for Andre and every time we give everything for him. Today Warren helped us with five kilometres to go, he strung the peloton. Then I took the relay and Florian Vachon left him in the good wheels. We don’t have the strength to take him to 400 metres to go so we use a different tactic.”

Warren Barguil: “Well positioned and focused.”

All stars were aligned for Warren Barguil after the Arkea-Samsic leader enjoyed a smooth ride through a high-paced fifth stage of the Tour de France in the Vosges. Peter Sagan prevailed in Colmar and French champion Barguil cannot wait to start the sixth stage on Thursday for the race’s first hilltop finish.

Warren Barguil :   “It was the first day with a little more altitude.  The guys protected me well to tackle the penultimate climb in good conditions.  Then I stayed focused for the last kilometers.  I get a lot of support every day, I feel good, I take it step by step.  “

Maxime Bouet : “I had a lot of bad luck in my career.  This year, I fell in the second stage of Paris-Nice, like my leader Warren Barguil and I was sidelined for a month, going around on crutches.  Then I had a slow month.  I resumed racing on the Tour de l’Ain, I rode the Critérium du Dauphiné and my team trusted me with a Tour de France spot.  I am very grateful and I will remember it for the rest of my career. When I look back I will see that I went through bad times but always came back. When you’re injured, you’re not really on a break, you don’t rest and try to be patient. I’m disappointed that I could not be in the first gorup with Warren today but I only have 20 days of racings that include two time trials and as many crashes. I should be getting better and better.”

Yvon Ledanois – directeur sportif :  “Warren Barguil is in the front so that’s good.  The stage was tough, with no time to catch a breath.
If you’re on an average day you’re out and if you’re on a very good day is in the front.
The downside for us today is that no team mate finished with our leader.  Three of them had been picked to be with him but Elie Gesbert, Amael Moinard and Maxime Bouet — who comes a long way and was very determined to get into shape of the Tour — did not manage to do that.
Tomorrow, we need to bounce back not to leave Warren Barguil on his own far from the finish. We must place a rider in the break and another one with Warren. The Planche des Belles Filles will be a first test for the leaders.”

Yvon Ledanois : “Disappointed by the placing, not with the result”

Today was the Tour de France stage that suited Arkea Samsic the less. Thorough and compact, the team limited the damage and lost less than two minutes to stage winners Jumbo Visma.

Warren Barguil: “It’s a specific effort and this is not the team we have on team time trials during the season so it’s always a bit peculiar. We communicated well even if we lacked a few markers, it was alright. On that kind of TTT you have to take short turns and keep the speed steady for as long as possible. I like this event, it did not go too bad, it shows the cohesion of a team.”

Yvon Ledanois: “ I’m disappointed by our placing but I’m happy with the time. We’re second to last but when I see how much we’ve lost on big teams who were putting much more time into us in the past, it’s not that bad. Of course we’re not getting carried away. Today one team was above the cut – Jumbo Visma. We lose 45 seconds to Movistar who are at a high level and have already won team time trials. In this stage Warren Barguil was good, and so was Maxime Bouet who likes the TTTs. We know we don’t have great specialists so we can’t really compete with the best. Tomorrow will be a bit wild because of the gaps after the team time trial. There will be a breakaway but Jumbo Visma will want to keep the jersey. The finale is tough with a series of leg-snapping hills. It won’t be a packed bunch at the end.”

A smooth opening 

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.”