Tour de France: Stage 15 reactions
Jarlinson Pantano (IAM), stage winner
“It’s an incredible day for me. I came to the Tour de France thinking I’d try to win a stage but to do it is difficult to believe. I’d hoped to do it but this is incredible. I want to thank my IAM teammates, who did a great job for me in the attack. I also want to thank my family, especially my wife, who have always supported me. This is a special day for me.”
Rafal Majka (Tinkoff)
“I’m happy with my performance today – it’s not easy to take the KOM jersey and win the stage. I wanted to take everything but in the end I didn’t want to take too much risk in the descent – I crashed four days ago and am still suffering a bit in my arms with the vibrations in the road. I knew Pantano would be quick at the finish, but still I’m happy with my race today.”
Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo)
“It was a hard day today, but I was never in any problem, so it was a good day for me,” explained Mollema. “For two or three kilometers it was really steep, and Sky did a good pace on the climb, especially after the attacks from Aru and Valverde. Then the last two kilometers of the climb were not so hard anymore. Froome and Quintana almost crashed at the top, it was a bit tricky, especially in the descent.”
“I think van Garderen lost some time today, and that is one guy less for the classification, so that is good. The rest of the guys looked pretty good. Aru attacked in the climb but never got away, Bardet attacked and went really fast again in the descent, but I was there and never in problems today.
“To beat Froome will be really hard, he is the big favorite, and I think that he needs a bad day for that. Hopefully, I can have these legs in the last four days in the Alps and then we will see. One day less until Paris now.”
Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha)
“We had a plan to go in the break today together with Alberto Losada. He had to support me there. It was not easy to go in the break because almost from the start there was a climb, but finally we succeed. Alberto was always with me, he supported me very well. On Grand Colombier I attacked and went away with Majka. I felt good today and on the climb all went well. On the descent I lost my contact lens. Two times I tried to put it back in, but it was a big stress and hurry in the race and finally I couldn’t do it. So I had to continue with only one lens. It was hard because one eye sees good and another one bad, but there was nothing I could do. I think I will have two more chances and I hope to do better than today”
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)
“We tried to stay up near the front, we didn’t really see anything going on behind us. Sky were very strong yet again and they really made it hard for us. It was a very difficult stage, and difficult for us to do anything with the pace. Nairo seemed pretty relaxed, he’s very strong coming into this next week.
“We’re going to try to do our best in the coming week. We’re definitely going to try something. I think people are expecting more fire and fight from us. We will fight in the coming stages but not today.”
Tejay van Garderen (BMC)
“Pfffft. It wasn’t really thinking anything. I was just kind of in my own world, just trying to hold the wheel in front of me, but I couldn’t hold it.
“To be honest. I felt fine. Just the pace was pretty incredible. I can’t say that it was bad sensations, it was just above the level that I had on the day.”
Serge Pauwels (Dimenion Data)
“I tried to make it into the breakaway today because I thought it was one stage that suited me really well. I was keen for the stage but I knew it was going to be a very hard day. I pretty much went all in on that first category 1 climb to make sure I was the break of 30 riders. I went over the top of that climb in 3rd so I made the break but then it’s basically like a new race starts all over again.
“It was a super strong breakaway if you look at the riders who were in there like Nibali, Zakarin, Dumoulin and Pozzovivo. They were all dropped in the final and you know those guys don’t drop for nothing, it was such a tough day. These are the kind of races I like and sixth was probably the place I deserve. I rode for what I could so I am happy with this result because it was such a tough day.”