(Nyborg) Antoine Duchesne didn’t take the time to admire the wheat fields and the Great Belt Strait and its wind turbines on Saturday in the final of the second stage of the Tour de France.
Posted at 18:04
The Groupama-FDJ cyclist had only one mission in mind: to keep his eyes fixed straight ahead to avoid any concern for his leader, David Gaudu.
“I have rarely been so focused,” said the Quebecer at the end of the event where everyone went home safe and sound, at the same time as the winner, Fabio Jakobsen.
“I didn’t watch or talk to anyone during the day. It was stressful, I was stressed out, you really had to be hyper attentive.”
Approaching the intermediate sprint, just under 80km to go, Duchesne was leading the pack. The runners began to scrub, for fear of the announced side winds. Finally, false alarm.
“David likes to run in front. It was a kind of password. We didn’t want to find excuses. We are several pilots who are there for this. We didn’t really have the information for the side winds. It was important for us to be well positioned. ”
Aside from the fall involving the yellow jersey Yves Lampaert, the 17km bridge crossing was virtually uneventful. With the strong headwind, the group slowed down in the second section, waiting for the group sprint.
“It was a truly spectacular place,” noted Steve Bauer, Israel-Premier Tech’s sports director. In a cross wind, it could have been crazy. In the end, it was a group sprint as expected. And we have a noble winner in Jakobsen. ”
The Israeli-Quebec team got a little fright when Chris Froome charged towards the riders lying on the ground at km 2.5. Fortunately, the British avoided the worst.
When he thought about joining the sprint, Guillaume Boivin was also slowed by the stack, dodging him in extremis.
“These guys are fast, but with the wind in your face, if you get the right wheel, you never know,” he said, sitting in one of the bus trunks. You can make a small result. Getting caught behind the crash was pretty much the end of my day. ”
Hugo Houle, went on the line without slowing down, but did not join the hostilities, watching from behind Jakobsen’s victory.
“I was a little too far away, I had no interest in sprinting,” explained Houle, 21And On the rope.
A “calculated risk”
The two IPT Quebecers took care of the grain for their leader Jakob Fuglsang, without forcing the note too much.
“Fortunately, it wasn’t as difficult as I expected,” Houle explained. There was obviously the usual stress at the start of the Tour de France, with lots of people, noise, changes of direction at the start of the stage. I, I was still pretty relaxed at the back of the group all day. Some formations required a lot of energy to stay in place and avoid falls or breaks. ”
His team-mate Krists Neilands had a small accident when he visited the cobblestones during a passage on a culvert 40km from the finish. But the Latvian got up quickly.
“We don’t have a five-star favorite for the overall standings and no sprinters, recalled Boivin, 39And. We took a calculated risk, if you like, by falling behind because it was relatively easier, even if the stage was still nervous. We did well. ”
If Houle and Duchesne felt very good, Boivin admitted that he had heavy legs in the first 100 kilometers.
“I think it would have done me good, a long ride to really let go of the body journey. I’ll take the first three days here as it goes, then with Monday’s transfer rest day I hope I have full control [cette semaine]. ”
Michael Woods was relieved to have gone through this second phase without any worries. “For one stage of the Tour, it wasn’t too dangerous,” said the Ottawa cyclist. But there were some falls and the group was still stressed out. I managed to do my best. ”
With another sprint finish scheduled for Sunday in Sønderborg, the four Canadians are unlikely to play a leading role in the third stage. Unless the borders give Boivin ideas, who still hasn’t received his bicycles and his suitcase, lost somewhere between Montreal, Toronto and Copenhagen.
It took Nyborg’s dense crowd to get from the press room to the team’s coaches, parked a kilometer from the finish. Run, please, because the runners don’t stop. A quick shower, and the whole group is ready to leave for the next hotel. First to arrive, Guillaume Boivin walked out fast enough to give an interview. Hugo Houle had to stay close to the finish line to undergo doping control. When he returned, the bus was about to leave. This is not the time for an in-depth interview.
Matthews has to go back to Quebec
On 9 September the reigning Grand Prix champion Cycliste du Québec will return to Canada to try and double the lead. Michael Matthews has in fact included in his program the only two WorldTour events held in America, confirmed Matt White, sporting director of BikeExchange, before the start of the second stage of the Tour de France, Saturday morning, in Roskilde. A year before his success on the Grande Allée, the 31-year-old Australian had scored a double by winning both in Quebec and Montreal, imitating his compatriot Simon Gerrans (2014). Matthews took 33And stadium grade judged in Nyborg. Belgian Wout van Aert, second in Friday’s opening time trial in Copenhagen, also put the two Quebec GPs on his agenda for the first time.
A pat on the fingers
Stefan Küng, Antoine Duchesne’s teammate at Groupama, gave a small pat on the helmet of Reuben Guerreiro, of the EF team. For his gesture, the Swiss was fined 500 Swiss francs and lost 20 UCI points.