Kévin Vauquelin: "It's the apprenticeship of the very high level"
Caught in a crash shortly before the foot of the Col de la Couillole, Kévin Vauquelin finished 19th at the summit. He is now 15th in the overall classification of Paris-Nice.
Photo Arkéa-Samsic/ Aubin Lipke
On the line
“I was riding hard in the valley before the col de la Coulliole when I caught the wheel of a rider in front of me on a small bridge. I broke my bike on the impact, Clément Champoussin gave me his right away. But my shoe was also unusable. I also had to change my shoes. I tried to come back quickly, luckily it was a headwind. I left a lot of cartridges in the effort that I had to make to get back into the peloton. The ascent of the Col de la Coulliole was indeed difficult right away. I took a side point after the crash. It was hard to get myself back into the race, but I tried to do it as much as possible so that I wouldn’t let go. This is the learning process of the very high level. I finished the race as well as possible to be able to reward the work of my team-mates, which was once again exemplary”
“This stage, as expected, was very difficult. We wanted to see Kévin in a climb of this type, but the crash he had just before it didn’t allow him to measure himself against the others on a 16 km climb. He had to change bike and shoes and to close a gap of forty seconds on the peloton. With the help of Michel and Matîs, he made the junction at the foot of the Col de la Coulliole. But nervously, he lost some time and had to face a backlash from the first kilometres of the climb. He finished the climb of this pass well, at such an intensity. Kévin didn’t let go of anything. That’s what you have to remember. In any case, you can’t do the race again. That’s the way it is, that’s sport. We are in Paris-Nice, and a Paris-Nice without sand grains is very rare. I also want to praise the work of the team-mates, the sense of sacrifice of Clément Champoussin who without thinking gave his bike, of Matîs and Michel who took the helm to make the junction as fast as possible. Now, tomorrow will be another day and we will fight to refine all the beautiful things that have been put forward during this week”.