TOUR’18: The PEZ Presentation Photo Gallery!
PeloPics: The 176 contenders of the 105th Tour de France were introduced to the crowd on the Napoleon Square of La Roche-sur-Yon. The teams presentation is always a special moment for the riders as the race comes after a long lead up to their objective. “It gives me goose bumps again”, noted Romain Bardet who embarks for his sixth Grande Boucle.
“Back in 2003, I went to watch the teams presentation in Paris”, Arnaud Démare recalled. “So every time I take part in it on the other side of barriers, I realize that I’ve made my dream come true.”
There are 35 debutants this year. “This is a moment I will remember for the rest of my life”, said the youngest of them, Egal Bernal, 21. “I’ve been waiting for this for twenty-five years, since I started watching the race on TV as a kid back in Australia”, commented Rory Sutherland who got his first call for the Tour de France at the age of 36!
It was a time to reflect for others like the defending champion. “I can’t believe that it was ten years ago when I started my first Tour de France in Brest”, Chris Froome commented.
AG2R-La Mondiale’s Romain Bardet who made the final podium of the past two Tours de France expressed his fears and ambitions ahead of the 105th edition: “I have some experience by now as this is my sixth Tour de France. I’ve never had such a great support from my team but I’m cautious and humble because I found the field more competitive than ever. We’ll fight stage after stage for the yellow jersey and the objective will take shape as we go along. The route has many pitfalls. We have to be impeccable and irreproachable. We’re very ambitious. We know where we want to arrive but we’re aware of the vagaries of the racing. I’m aim at not losing too much time at the beginning of the Tour and I wish for some luck because there are some tricky stages. In my mind, the level of difficulty of stage 9 is equal to a high mountain stage. The pavés will surely create some big differences between the leaders. Even though I’ve never raced Paris-Roubaix, I’ve never hidden my love for the classics. I find them thrilling in front of my TV, especially when the friends are doing great like [runner up] Silvan [Dillier], Oliver [Naesen] who is a master on the cobblestones, Tony [Gallopin] who is not bad either. Let’s hope for the best before we resume racing in Annecy on a different terrain.”
Always the star of the show – World champion Peter Sagan (BORA-hangrohe)
Will there be Tour’18 sprint wins for André Greipel (Lotto Soudal)
The 2018 King of the Mountains Warren Barguil is back with the aim of playing a free role like last year. “I’m super happy, motivated and ready for my fourth Tour”, the Frenchman from Fortuneo-Samsic declared. “I will be hard to do just as well as last year. I won’t be racing for GC at all. I might do it next year but I’m giving myself one more year of racing with freedom. Nobody talks to me about my eighth place overall at La Vuelta but many people remember that I won two stages as a neo pro. I’m targeting one mountain stage win. I’ve had a difficult early part of the season but I didn’t give up and I won’t give up until the very last day of my cycling career. It will be hard to stay quiet during the stages in Brittany but my team-mates will be on the offensive. We are keen to do well on home soil. I can potentially ride well on the cobblestones but on stage 9 it’ll depend on whether or not I’ll need to lose more time in the overall ranking to be able to attack in the Alps the day after. I dream of winning another stage. It would confirm that I worship the Tour.”
Can Adam Yates emulate his brother’s success in the Giro?
A new jersey for Mitchelton-Scott
Rigo Uran in on the selfie
The Sagan wheelie on stage
Nairo Quintana aiming for the win
The winningest team of the year so far – Quick-Step Floors
The Tour boss had to have his selfie
BMC’s Richie Porte explained how he hopes to capitalize on his Tour de Suisse recent victory to make the podium of the Tour de France for the first time: “I’m super motivated for his Tour. I don’t think there’s a huge favorite for the overall. It was nice to see Chris Froome ride the Giro. I hope he’s bugged. I was here in 2011 [at the start of the Tour de France in Vendée] with Alberto Contador, so I know how difficult it is to win Giro and Tour the same year. If anyone is able to do it, it’s Chris. He’s done the Giro with a super strong team, he’s here with an even stronger team. He’s obviously here for doing it but I hope that he is tired. Vincenzo [Nibali] and Nairo [Quintana] will never give him an easy day, we all hope to end his winning streak. Personally, I hope for no bad luck along the road. I’m looking forward to stage 3. We’ve got all places covered for the team time trial. Maybe one of us will take the yellow jersey. It might be too early but it would be absolutely brilliant for my team. We have the horse power to go through those first nine tricky stages. The pavés aren’t really my sort of things, but [Paris-Roubaix winner] Greg Van Avermaet is not so bad on the cobbles… It’s the most fearful stage to look at on paper, but we can turn it into something positive. Not all GC teams have the guys we have for this stage.”
Queen of the Mountains
A second Tour win for Vincenzo Nibali
Dan Martin could give Ireland its second Tour de France win
Team Dimension Data principal Douglas Ryder underlined that Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday on July 18 will make their fourth participation to the Tour de France even more special, even though it’ll be stage 11 from Albertville to La Rosière in the Alps, not exactly a race for their star rider Mark Cavendish to shine. But the 33 year old British sprinter has plenty of space earlier on to try and equal the all-time record of 34 Tour de France stage victories that belongs to Eddy Merckx. He’s got 30 under his belt. “Physically, I have pretty much won every race I could so the only target left is to reach that great number, I’ll keep trying before the end of my career, that’s for sure”, admitted the Manxman who left the race after crashing heavily on stage 4 last year. “I wasn’t the first person to have an injury. I just tried and deal with it. But 2017 is in the past. I’ve been injured again this year. Now I’m in my best form of the year. I have a strong team to get some result at Tour de France. The yellow jersey to be awarded to stage 1 winner this year [like two years ago] isn’t a factor but we’ll try and win that stage. The sprinting field is incredibly stronger because of the amount of depth in sprinting teams that has come up. The green jersey isn’t a goal for me. It hasn’t been my thing for a few years, since Peter Sagan came along. It’s not worth putting your eggs in a non-reachable goal.”
South Africa’s Jay Thompson is a Tour de France debutant at the age of 32. He fills the shoes of Stephen Cummings who won the team’s first ever Tour de France stage on Mandela Day (July 18) in Mende where stage 14 will end this year.
Chris Froome is not the only one playing with fire!
The Froome fans were at the presentation
Chris Froome (Sky): Putting on a brave face? What will the next three weeks bring?
All information about Tour de France on https://www.letour.fr/en/