Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) – Tour de France stage 18 winner
I’ve been through some difficult moments but I really wanted to make it to the final sprints and play my cards. I always believed in myself and my chances of winning in this Tour.
Winning today, before the final chance on the Champs Elysees is great for my motivation. This is for my wife, my family and my friends.
It was a fast sprint after a fast stage. I was well-placed thanks to Jacopo Guarnieri and believed I could win. The team was perfect in the way they set me up.
People who know me, know how hard I trained for the Tour de France and this goal. That’s why I’m so happy today. (NBC/Eurosport)
Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) – third on stage 18
It was not so good. I only had one guy in front of me with 2km to go. He was too early in front, but I didn’t really have the legs in the final straight either.
We did a lot of work, but unfortunately, at the end, I did not really have the fastest legs. That’s it. I came from a little too far back in this final stretch.
I hope in Paris I can win, but Demare was fast today and in Paris, he will be fast again. (Eurosport)
Marc Madiot (Groupama-FDJ manager)
I felt that Arnaud was really motivated, he did some really big work, Guarnieri did some good work. The team really dug in today and did some great work for Demare to help him win, it’s proper teamwork, really proper teamwork. (Eurosport)
Alain Deloeuil (Cofidis directeur sportif)
He finished second and a bit of shame. He worked hard in the mountains we wanted to win of course. The team worked hard and in the end, he was second and perhaps a bit unlucky. We didn’t see the finish on TV, maybe there was a little deviation but that’s cycling.
We’re thinking about Champs Elysees for Laporte of course. He will do his best tomorrow to get over those mountains.
[On Demare deviation] We don’t know if we will launch an appeal, we haven’t seen it, maybe it’s nothing. We don’t want to make a fuss or any trouble on the Tour. We need to watch it carefully and we haven’t done that yet to see if there are any errors at all. (Eurosport)
It was a solid start. It definitely wasn’t an easy day. We were on the pedals all day, and it was a hot day which was tough, and a fast final as well. It was stressful but I’m happy to get through it.
[About the third week] I just try to take it day by day. Obviously, there is one more big day, and we are expecting a lot of attacks. There is a lot of climbing, it’s going to be a hard day, but we’ve ridden really well as a team so far so hopefully we can keep that going.
[Attacks before descent?] We’re expecting the worst, really – guys trying to go in the early break, attacks on the Tourmalet, and obviously attacks on the final climb and descent. We’re just going to be really ultra vigilant and stay on our toes and keep doing what we’ve been doing.
Hopefully, they can guide me through it and I can stay strong in the wheels and we’ll see how it goes.
I think it’s just been a crazy Tour really. So far, so good. Hopefully we can keep it going on the last real road stage tomorrow so the boys will go all-in and really commit to it and hopefully we can get through.
If there’s an opportunity [tomorrow] I’ll always take it but there’s no stress to try and gain more time. We expect others to try and take time on me so we’ve just got to be vigilant. (NBC/Eurosport)
Taylor Phinney (EF Education First-Drapac) – Ninth on the stage
Tom Scully and Sep Vanmarcke did an amazing job getting me into position. I was trying to mix it up. I miss that hyper top speed that those pure sprinters have, but it’s just good to be there and I’d like to give it another try on the Champs.
The third week of a Grand Tour is just a different kind of bike racing. It’s a little bit more subdued. Obviously, it’s still crazy, but to be up there and sprint in the third week is different than being up there in the first week.
It’s something I used to work on. My dad was a crit guy. He won a couple stages of the Tour. I wish I could do more criteriums, but it’s tough doing this.
[How high did you think you could finish?]
I mean, I was following Sagan, and then, like I said, when those guys turn on their gas, the rest of us are already sprinting pretty hard at that point, so I wasn’t really thinking, to be honest, about anything. I was just trying to stay where I was and not die also. (NBC Sports)