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Warren Barguil : “I’ve rarely raced that fast” TDF8
Le 13 July 2019

It was a crazy stage on the Tour de France and breakaway specialist Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) prevailed in St Etienne. During a very tough day, Warren Barguil confirmed he was in excellent shape by finishing in the first group of favourites while Maxime Bouet, who was with him until the last climb, is getting better and better.

Warren Barguil, 17th : “Today was a beautiful and fast stage. I rarely raced that fast on tough roads. I finished exhausted, it was a hard day. I thank the guys at Arkea-Samsic, they always helped me to be in a good position and to feed me. Tomorrow will be a special day because I will be riding with the French champion jersey on Bastille Day on the Tour de France!”

Maxime Bouet : “Not a flat part… Up, down, right, left, it never stopped. I lived in St Etienne for a couple of years when I was a young rider and I knew some of the roads. I knew it was going to be hard. Positioning was important today. You lose focus for a little moment and you can be trapped. Since I crashed on Paris-Nice I’ve got a bit of apprehension jockeying for positions but today I felt good. With 20km to go I placed Warren and made sure he didn’t need anything. Our role was to stay around him, I think we worked well for him. I feel like I’m improving day after day, it’s very motivating.”

Kévin Ledanois : “At the start in Macon we ambitioned to get into the breakaway but three riders attacked and the peloton went in control mode right away. Even by keeping a close eye on De Marchi, because we knew he was going to counter attack, the big teams locked everything and we could not go. When you see how it panned out there are no regrets. De Gendt was being De Gendt!

Warren Barguil is good, that’s what we take away from this day. Tomorrow is Bastille Day and it will be a special day. We’re going to try and seize an opportunity otherwise it will be all for our leader. We know that in our team he’s the one who can win fair and square. I find this Tour harder than last year’s. The route is different and the pace is very high. I take it day by day.”

Yvon Ledanois, sports director : “What a stage ! It was worse than a mountain stage and they did it at an average pace of over 40 kph. Respect to all the riders. Today we got confirmation that Warren was well. He was a bit tired at the finish but all riders were. Everything is going according to plan for him and if you’d told me he’d be there 10 days ago I would have signed for it. Our leader is gaining confidence staying around the top guns without being on his favourite terrain. He will have his say in the third week. We saw that all his team mates did their job and all of them finished the stage. Maxime Bouet suffered a puncture at the beginning of the stage but he was strong with Warren in the finale. This stage will take its toll and in this Bastille Day context, we’re going to stick to our strategy but it’s obivously a special day for the French riders. We’re going to try and be in the breakaway and go a long way!”