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.”