Tour de France: Stage 2 reactions

Peter Sagan (Tinkoff), stage winner and new overall leader

“I am very surprised I won, because I was thinking that there were still two guys in the front. Then when I finished I didn’t know I won and later realized the breakaway had been caught. It is the first time in my career to have the yellow jersey, and it is unbelievable. I’m already wearing a nice jersey [world champion], but this one is also very nice.”

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)

“The plan was to get through the stage as well as we could, and we tried to stay near the front. I felt pretty good in the uphill, I thought I’d launch a sprint. I was in a good position but Sagan was too quick. It’s clear there was a big crash today and Alberto’s definitely suffered some more, so it’s normal that he lost some time. Richie Porte’s also lost time with his mechanical and that’s bad luck. But we’re all good.”

Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data)

“It was a bit wet. It was nice when we saw a bit of blue sky, nice to take the long sleeve jersey off. It was super nice. Steve Cummings rode incredible on the front. We knew it was going to be hard for me to keep it but we thought why not give it a go. So that’s that. It’s not often I’m on the turbo after a stage so it shows I went a little bit deeper than I wanted to today. I’ve lost too much time to take back yellow but I’d like to wear green for a little bit. There’s a chance because the first week is a bit flatter, so it’s a while before Peter goes and gets all those 20-pointers in the intermediates in the mountains. But we’re happy to have worn the yellow.”

Richie Porte (BMC)

“It was a disaster but what can you do. I was sitting second wheel in perfect position. I don’t know what the hell I hit, but the next thing I know I had a flat. I had to buckle the seat belt there going back through the peloton; it was quite dangerous. It’s a disaster but there’s nothing really you can do. Just move on I suppose.

“I had Burghardt come back, but I mean when they’re going that fast there’s not much you can do in terms of a bike change. It all just happened so quickly that by the time Burghardt got back to me the bunch was gone anyhow.

“It’s going like last year in the Giro, minus the two minute penalty, but it probably would have been quicker to take the two minute penalty than the wheel change I got anyhow. The Tour s far from over, but it’s quite a hard one to take At the end of the day I guess we’ll just pretend like it never happened and wait for the mountains to come.”

Sean Yates (Tinkoff Sport Director)

“Very mixed. One has to be happy for Peter because he hit the goals he set out to hit. He won the stage most suited to him and took yellow so one cannot be anything but happy for him. On the other side of the coin we’re depressed, for want of a better word, over what happened to Alberto. He had another crash and lost a big amount of time to the other GC contenders. It’s far from ideal on that front. The show must go on. Alberto’s a fighter. He’s not going to throw in the towel. It’s a long way to Paris.”

Chris Froome (Sky)

“I think the stage went well. The main objective was to stay up front and not lose any time. That worked out well for us. They’re pretty significant gaps but it’s of course too early to count them out. The Tour will be one and lost by minutes sometimes so these gaps are still insignificant.”

“It’s unfortunate and that comes with the territory in these kind of stages. That’s why we really try to make a big effort to be up front. Guys like Ian Stannard and Luke Rowe are up there protecting me on days like these and keeping me at the front to give me the best chance to stay out of trouble and out of harms way.”

“That’s why you get your team to ride at the front, that’s why you fight for position. You give yourself the best chance to stay out of trouble. There are no guarantees but you give yourself the best chance.”

Tejay van Garderen (BMC)

“We’re co-leaders. Anything can happen. We saw Contador lost time today and crashed yesterday. Richie lost a bit of time today. Any one of these next 19 days could be my turn for bad luck, so we have to keep Richie strong and focused, give him a little morale boost tonight because the Tour is a marathon.

“It was with about 5km to go, so everyone is fighting and everyone is nervous. It’s hard to hear anything. I think Amael was there to help him out. But obviously Greg [Van Avermaet] was going for the stage, and I needed to focus on not losing time, so what can I say. It’s bad luck for him

“We just have to keep him strong mentally. I know that he has the fitness, so if he can just stay positive I’m sure he can claw some of that time back.

“We’re at stage 2, we have 19 more stages to go. Any one of these stages the whole Tour could flip over on its head. So, yeah, Quintana lost two minutes on stage 2 last year and nearly ended up winning the Tour, so Richie needs to keep that in mind. This thing is nowhere near over.”