Tour de France: Stage 11 reactions

Peter Sagan (Tinkoff), stage winner

“Froomey and Geraint Thomas came with us. I said, ‘We are too strong. They’re never going to catch us.’ We just pulled very hard and it happened. It’s unbelievable.

“Today everybody was like, ‘It’s crazy wind, it’s crazy wind.’ And just crazy wind was last 15km, or 12, I don’t know how much. It was not planned. It was like, it was dangerous you have to stay in the front. The bunch is going to split for sure. But you go in a breakaway with green jersey and yellow jersey and two guys like Bodnar and Thomas, you cannot plan that. It just happened.

“I hope everyone had fun today. I was hurting but enjoyed it too. I hope it’s fun to at least watch.

“It was an improvised attack. I’m just really happy we made it to the finish. It just happened, we didn’t make any more calculations. We got a gap and then when we had five metres I looked back and decided to go for it. Then they came with us, all four of us worked like crazy.

“I was happy because I bet everything on an attack. I could have lost the green jersey because if they’d caught I wouldn’t have won the sprint but it worked out well.”

Chris Froome (Sky), overall leader

“I can’t believe what happened out there. It was really difficult day but I relied on my teammates all day and they were always at the front and that allowed me to go with Sagan at the end.

“The sprint with Sagan might be different…. Let’s see what happens. There’s really strong winds forecast, so that could play a part even before we reach the climb. We have to be switched on and ready for anything.”

Geraint Thomas (Sky)

“I was surprised as well. Sagan was just motoring. When they went, Froomey responded straightaway and behind him there was a gap, so I got up to him straightaway. I looked behind and there was a gap. I got across to them. It was full gas. We were at the front all day just waiting for something to go and then Sagan and Bodnar just went and that was it.”

“Not necessarily just him, but when we got a gap and it was 15-20 seconds, we just committed then, but boy that was hard.”

Dave Brailsford (Team Sky principal)

“I think the guys are a mature bunch now and in those situations you have to concentrate. It’s all about being in position and feeling it and they can deliver now. They deliver for themselves, obviously, in the one-day races and we try to bring that a little bit into the race. Obviously we managed to just get on with it. To see G and Froome there at the front with Sagan, who was super strong. Sagan was super strong, you’ve got to say he was at a different level wasn’t he. But it’s exciting isn’t it and that’s what we’re trying to do, to win a race, and instead of just waiting waiting, waiting we’re racing. Who knows what it’s going to bring us? We might win the race, we might not, but we’ll try and we’ll race hard all the way to Paris.”

Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) 

“Shit happens, at least I didn’t get beaten, that’s the positive we can take home.

“The group went, we went to the front – Bernie went straight to the front. It was a bit choppy and ‘ping’ I hit my rear mech in someone’s wheel. I don’t know if it was my fault or their fault, that’s irrelevant, really. My rear mech stopped working. I don’t know if the electronic came out or I broke a spring. It wouldn’t go lower than a 15, and you even can’t keep up at 70kph. Because the bunch was in pieces there was no car behind, and that was it.

“I said there would be crosswinds. Where I was it didn’t really split up. I thought we had quite a big bunch, I didn’t realize it had split so much behind. At one point I wanted to get a breather, went a few lines back and was already at the back. I thought ‘christ, it is pretty windy’.”

“It doesn’t [surprise me] actually, he’s ridden quite an aggressive Tour. Fair play. It’s quite nice for the race to see the green jersey and yellow jersey going up the road.”

Nairo Quintana (Movistar)

“It was a difficult day for me. There was a lot of wind and it was all flat. And the sprinters were favoured. Froome took a few seconds by taking advantage of the moment but I want to remain positive. We didn’t crash while it was very nervous. Organisers are thinking about the show, but we take chances with our lives every day and especially in stages like this. Tomorrow I would have liked the stage to go to the top because it’s an ideal climb for me. But anyway, there are still lots of days and mountains for me.”

Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo)

“It was a hectic day, from kilometer one!” said Mollema. “I’m happy that I survived today, thanks to my teammates. At the end, I told Fabian and Rasty to pull and suddenly Sagan goes like a rocket! I didn’t get into troubles today, but it was stressful.”

Richie Porte (BMC)

“It was so stressful and from kilometer 0 it was just shoulder to shoulder all day. The legs aren’t too bad. Obviously when Chris Froome and the other guys skipped off it was just carnage. But I felt good, comfortable, and I’m just really looking forward to the mountains again. I guess Team Sky are taking time wherever they can get it but tomorrow’s a different day and they may have to pay for their effort that they did there too.”

Daniel Martin (Etixx – Quick-Step)

“The guys did a fantastic job to keep me at the front and I came through this extremely tough stage. We showed again that we have a very strong team. With 15 kilometers to go, things became totally crazy, but Tony saved me at that point and rode five kilometers in the wind for me. I lost some time on Froome, but so did everybody else, and to be quite frankly it’s a small gap, not the end of the world”, said Dan Martin, before talking of tomorrow stage, which will not go all the way to the top of Mont Ventoux, but instead will be six kilometers shorter, because of the strong winds. “Actually, the hardest part of Mont Ventoux comes before Chalet-Reynard, where the stage will now conclude, so I still expect a tough stage. It’s a pity that we will not get to climb to the top of this iconic ascent, as we all dream about it, but this is how things are.”

Tejay van Garderen (BMC)

“To be honest I don’t even really know what happened. The wind makes it crazy and stressful and I’m just glad to survive. It was an impressive ride by Chris Froome. But you don’t look back, you just look forward. I got tangled up a bit in one of the crashes but I didn’t go down thankfully. I had to chase back but Marcus Burghardt waited for me and I got back with no real issues. With 40 kilometer an hour winds we knew it was going to be a crazy day and I’m just glad to make it through.”