Yvon Ledanois: "The watchword was not to lose time"
Nairo Quintana took 5th place in the first stage of the Tour du Luxembourg, which was a loop around the ducal city, showing once again his good form at the moment.
On the line
“This first stage of the Tour of Luxembourg was already very difficult, but the team worked perfectly for me. We increased the pace in the final to make the selection a little bit faster and to make the race even faster on the last climb. I was in a good position and that is why I was able to take fifth place in the sprint. I feel in good condition, in shape and I hope to continue to do good things in this competition. I am motivated and I will come out of this race even stronger physically. The penultimate climb was also very fast. The pace was already very fast, and we, Arkéa-Samsic team, were all well placed. And that’s very good. It was important before the final climb of this stage that ended in Luxembourg City. We were the first to enter the climb and then we controlled it. Then Elie attacked and we all rode well. I will continue to project myself day after day on this Tour of Luxembourg…”.
“This first stage was relatively short, so it was nervous. There was a breakaway fairly quickly that was controlled by the peloton. There were some small showers at the end of the race that made the roads wet and slippery, so it was obviously tricky. Nevertheless, we managed to stay well mobilized at the foot of the last climb. I attacked in this last difficulty and the goal of this offensive passage was to make sure that there was no moment of hesitation and that it went up quickly from the foot to the summit. I think that allowed Nairo to make a good place at the finish, because some of the puncheurs didn’t have the possibility to follow the imposed rhythm and especially to recover before the sprint, which was the objective that we had set ourselves.
“We knew that this first stage of the Tour du Luxembourg could be tricky and that at the end of it, we wouldn’t know the overall winner of the race, but the riders who were trapped could make a cross on the overall classification. This was the case for some of our rivals, but for us the watchword was that Nairo should not lose time, and the instructions were respected. That is to say, to place Nairo at the important moment of the race at the penultimate climb with eleven kilometres to go, he was well placed. The team did its job. The guys did their job, nothing more and nothing less, and Nairo did his job, nothing more and nothing less. Elie attacked in the final, because I think that at some point in the last climb there must have been no moment of hesitation. We saw it, everyone tried. Elie went, then Gaudu. There weren’t too many teams left to control the race and it was the riders who could have been considered favourites for the general classification who had to sacrifice and who lost precious seconds in the end”.