Tour de France: Stage 6 reactions

Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data), stage winner

“Oh my God, that was terrifying. That was like the old days just wheel surfing. Honestly, I said this morning, there is two finish lines there’s one with 12 to go when we got onto the small road. We were a little too far back, Bernie and I, going into that. It was just carnage in the final with guys coming left and right. I wanted Kittel’s wheel. I was fighting and fighting for Kittel’s wheel. Etixx weren’t that organised but I knew that they would get it on the final long, fast run-in. I knew it would be the right thing to go early. Because it was slightly downhill, I put on a bigger gear again and I just went. Actually, I maxed out, I should have put a bigger gear on. I kept going to the line, I really wanted it. I felt Kittel coming up on my side again but I just did what he’s done to me over the last three years and just held him at it. I’m very happy with that.”

Marcel Kittel (Etixx-QuickStep)

“Cavendish knew where he needed to be and when. I tried everything to hold him off but I couldn’t. It was really close in the end.

“To be very honest, in the finals this year, there is no tactic. It’s impossible to ride with a team here. I don’t know why the organisers do it like this with downhills in the city, we have all those small roads and corners. It goes wide, narrow, wide again and every team is struggling at this stage to be at the front. The GC teams are also holding their wheels until the finish line. It’s pure chaos and that’s why you can win here with really smart positioning. The team only has to bring you forward at a certain moment and that’s it and then you have to go out of the wheel of someone at a certain point. That is it but you don’t know when it is going to happen.”

Daniel Mclay (Fortuneo-Vital Concept)

“There was no words between us at the finish, we were both out of breath,” McLay said. “I just tapped him on the back and he gave me the thumbs up, that was it.”

“If I can get over the mountains, I’ll have my shot to win. I feel like my sprint’s there, I wasn’t so far today. [A stage win] has to be possible. I don’t’ know. Today, I had a good run at it, so did they, I wasn’t so far away.”

“Today it worked better, I had Armindo Fonseca, Pierre-Luc Perichon, and Florian Vachon. ’Cav’ was around a little by himself too, he had guys, but he was always trying to find them. To be honest, it was only Etixx who could stay together, and Katusha a little bit.

“I had some good help, three guys. OK, the last two to three K, I did it by myself. I think getting some more practice with that would be best, but it’s not the time to start in the Tour.”

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing), overall leader

“It could not have gone better. It was a beautiful day, it wasn’t too hilly and we had beautiful weather. It wasn’t too stressful, it was just a hard final. In the end it was really good, there was a lot of Belgian people on the road with the Belgian flags and they supported me really well.

“It was too hectic. I hadn’t really recovered from yesterday anyway, so I could not go for the sprint. I just wanted to get safely over the line and recover as well as possible from yesterday.

“We’ll try tomorrow to keep it on the last climb. I hope that I have good legs. I will try to keep the jersey as long as possible. I still have five minutes so I think it is possible to keep it tomorrow.”

Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data)

“Cavendish is so fast at the moment. Today Daniel was controlling the race and then Bernie got him to the front. I didn’t manage to do much today for Mark. He did most of the sprint for himself, I didn’t get to the front to help him. I was really impressed when he won and the rest of the guys did a great job. I’m really impressed with how fast he is at the moment.

“It was all around during the race but in the final we were all supporting each other and it’s great to see. He’s amazing at the moment.

“It’s always nice to ride on the same team as him. He’s a great rider and he wins so many races. He’s a really nice guy and it’s great to help him win races.”