Today’s Tour de France stage was an odd one. Because of the previous day’s violent thunderstorms, the organisers were forced to change the course, taking the Cormet de Roselend and the Col de Longefoy out and leaving the lone climb up to Val Thorens. Warren Barguil who was long helped by Elie Gesbert, fought to claim a top 10 finish in GC and achieve his goal.
Warren Barguil: “It was an odd day, I was expecting a different scenario with a bunched pack at the top of the last climb. We had Maxime Bouet in front, it was important to have someone in the break. Flo Vachon positioned me perfectly at the foot of Val Thorens, he’s good at that, he was of great help during the whole Tour. Then I had Elie with me, it’s important to have support. We caught Max, he gave me a bottle and helped me bridge a gap, it’s something you don’t always see but it’s what makes the difference. I attacked with 5km to go. At that time I was not thinking about he stage of the GC but just about opening a gap. It was a regular climb not exactly what I prefer but I had nothing to lose. Then I paid for my efforts and I hung on to finish as good as I could, my legs were hurting. At the end of the day I finished 29 seconds behind Bernal. I’m happy to be in the top 10 of the Tour de France, for the team and for myself it’s a very good result. My team trusted me, I worked a lot and I got back to my best level. A top 10 on the greatest race in the world is good and gives me confidence for the future. I like te three-week races, I’m tough and tenacious I think it’s my strength on the Tour de France and in the third week. We did not reach our initial goal of a stage win with me but the top 10 shows consistency and it’s not over yet, we still have tomorrow on the Champs Elysees.
Elie Gesbert: “The last climb of the Tour was long and the peloton did not leave a big advantage to the breakaway in which Maxime Bouet featured. In the ascent to Val Thorens, Jumbo-Visma set a very high pace. I did everything I could to stay with Warren. It was a short and intense stage. We knew it would be like this and I feel better in these circumstances than on a high mountain stage, it suits me better. Warren ends up in the top 10 but I regret for him that Friday’s stage was cut short because he was on his way to be even higher in the GC. As far as I’m concerned, I’ve had a good Tour de France even if I would have hoped for more especially in the stage to Gap.”
Yvon Ledanois, sports director: “I will drink Champagne on Sunday night. For us it’s mission accomplished, at the start in Brussels our goal was a stage win or a good result in the GC. The top 10 is a very good result and it is very important for Warren after a very complicated year, that he could follow up on his superb 2017 Tour and show it was no fluke. We didn’t win a stage in the mountains but we were there in the tough stages. We can do better for sure but the other good point is that the guys are finishing this Tour well and Andre Greipel is super motivated for Sunday’s stage. Elie Gesbert finished the Tour very well, he likes these lone climbs like Val Thorens. Today he was a source of comfort for his leader. Overall, and because everyone was committed, the Arkea-Samsic team had a great Tour. Now we need a good result form Andre tomorrow and we will have a drink together. Sunday, the riders will take the place to Paris at 1300 and the staff will be driving back.”