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.”
The seventh stage of the Criterium du Dauphine, featuring four climbs in the space of 80 kilometres, unfolded in dantesque conditions. Poels (Team Ineos) won the day’s laurels after Kevin Ledanois and Jeremy Maison rode in the breakaway and Warren Barguil showed good form. The Arkea-Samsic team leader’s morale is good!
Warren Barguil : “I finished 1 :45 off the pace, I did not have the best sensations but I wasn’t stuck on the road. I was caught at the wrong end of a split in some crosswinds, I was not well positioned. I was dropped then and managed to stay about 30 metres the group in front for a while. It’s a pity because tackling this climb within a group would have been easier, but it is what it is. After a long period without racing you don’t get back to your best level in the blink of an eye. It’s going to come back and today was not bad !”
Yvon Ledanois – sports director : ” Warren Barguil finished a minute and a half behind the Tour de France favourites, it’s not bad. But before I talk about him I want to say that the Arkea-Samsic rider shad a good stage in horrible conditions. Kevin Ledanois was very disappointed on Friday that he did not get into the breakaway but today he was there. After the cols de l’Epine and du Granier in a highly-contested stage, he crested the col de Marcieu 20 seconds behind Lutsenko (Astana) and Woods (Education First-Drapac) who were then in the lead, and he attacked at the foot of the final climb. Jeremy Maison also had a good day in this 25-man breakaway before being beaten by rain. It shows our riders should be aware of their qualities. Warren was dropped from a group of 15 with 10km to go but he stayed within 15 seconds of them despite the multiple accelerations in front on an ascent that required a lot of power. We can see that he’s much better than last season at this time of the year even if he started from far back after his two crashes during the Spring. Given that the third week of the Tour will be super hard and will require freshness, it is satisfying. He is in good spirits again. For us, the main goal is that he finishes the Criterium on an ascending form, with a smile on his face because he’s not far from the best and feeling he can do great things in July. There’s still one stage left, we’ll draw conclusions tomorrow, but it’s not too bad.”