Nacer Bouhanni: "I'm very close"
Nacer Bouhanni finished 3rd in Pontivy after a stage with many crashes in the final. Nairo is 8th in the overall classification at the end of the day.
ON THE LINE
“Even if I am happy, I can’t be satisfied with finishing 3rd. I am nevertheless happy to have passed the crashes in the final, I was really hot. The one of Caleb Ewan, I was really hot on two occasions, I pass by a few centimeters. I stop pedalling, I go on the right side to avoid falling. I could really see myself in the fall, and there were only a hundred and fifty metres to go. Tim Merlier had already made his effort at the moment of the fall, so there was no way of winning. I died just a few centimetres away from second place. We had the first sprint of the Tour today and we knew that the placement was going to be important. Everybody wanted to be at the front, there was a lot of friction and that is what made the peloton nervous. There will be another opportunity for a sprint tomorrow and I hope to have good legs again. I am also thinking about my team-mates who crashed today on this stage, especially my pilot-fish Dan McLay who had already crashed on the first stage, as well as Warren Barguil who unfortunately also went down”.
“I had a great day at home, it was just crazy with the start, the passage in front of my house, my family, my wife and my son, it was just exceptional, a great moment of emotion, and this nice surprise prepared by a friend in Belran with a friend who had written in a field “allez Wawa! “. I then worked in favour of Nacer, I then let myself slip into the peloton, and I stayed in the middle so as not to have too much stress. Cavendish falls that reduces the group, another one happens in a row and I’m in it. There is a big disappointment, but with all the encouragement I received it was good for me. My elbow hurt a little bit, but I want to forget this bad moment, to turn to the next one, and especially to take advantage of Nacer’s third place which motivates the whole team”.
“Very good third place for Nacer here in Pontivy. This proves that he has the physical level to express himself on the roads of this Tour de France. Unfortunately he lost his pilot Dan McLay in a crash with five kilometres to go. Nacer was placed at the head of the peloton early in the final, Alpecin-Fenix dominated the sprinters’ train on this stage. Warren also fell with fifteen kilometres to go. I think about these two riders who went to the ground again at very high speed, we will have to take care of them because we need them. We’re going to be focused on them, supporting them, because they are both important to us. We are doing relatively well compared to other teams, but we will watch how they recover from these two crashes in the space of three days“.