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.”

Elie Gesbert and Warren Barguil in the front

Arkea-Samsic were everywhere during the 14th stage of the Tour de France. Elie Gesbert, who won the combativity award, was in the break all day and started the ascent of the Col du Tourmalet as the sole leader of the stage. He was reined in 10km from the finish before seeing his leader, Warren Barguil, attack and take ninth place that brings him closer to the top 10 in GC.

Yvon Ledanois: “I had a good day, it’s positive. We didn’t just show our colours, we took our responnsibilities and raced. Elie is getting better, he suffered a lot in the first two weeks and he was unhappy but he drew some confidence from his TT. I think it triggered him psychologically. IT’s great for him to be on his own like this in the Tourmalet. As for Warren, it was important for him to know Elie was there while he was also supported by Amael Moinard. When he attacked veryone was full gas so he was right to go. Seeing the differences at the finish if he had built a 40-second advantage he could have done something but he’s not far from the 2017 Barguil. The last week will be good for him when others will start to fade. It’s good that he went for him today. If he hadn’t moved he could have been fifth 20 seconds behind but now he knows he’s got good legs. He’s 13th overall tonight not far from the top 10 but he needs to stay focused on winning a stage, the GC will follow naturally.”

Warren Barguil : “In the Tourmalet, there was only Wout Peols (Ineos) to set the pace. Maybe I attacked too early. I thought it wass a false tempo and that it was good for me but it was not (laughter). At he end of the day it’s a good stage, I end up 9th. It’s good that Thibaut won, we thought on the road that it would be good if he could win. I come here often  and it felt good to be here in the finale, I’m happy with myself. After a tough 18 months, it feels good. I feel at the same level as 2017 but this year the overall level of the Tour is higher.”

Elie Gesbert: “I wanted to be in the break today. I went once with Nibali and Sagan but I didn’t overcook it andI waited for another group to come. 17 riders in the front, it was interesting but Groupama-FDJ controlled it and they never allowed us more than three minutes.
The first climb came fast and we were three with Nibali and Wellens – they wanted the KOM points. We were caught at the foot of the Tourmalet. Sicard attacked first, I went behind, caught him and went solo. For 5 km I enjoyed the cheers of the crowd, it was incredible and a real morale booster. At some point I realised I was ont he Tour de France in a final climb like the Tourmalet and I was the sole leader of the stage. The gap was small but you always need to believe in it otherwise you don’t take the start.I took some beating since the start of the Tour and today I had good sensations. Its a real pleasure.”

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. “