Peter Sagan took another step in the right direction towards securing the green jersey, as he extended his lead to 61 points after a laborious but fruitful day in the break. Meanwhile, Tinkoff-Saxo’s team captain Alberto Contador notes that he is satisfied with his sensations on the steep finishing climb in Mende, where he lost 19 seconds to the yellow jersey.
Peter Sagan, who finished fifth on the undulating stage, says that after taking maximum points in the intermediate sprint, he eyed a slight chance on the 3k finishing climb.
“It was really hard because the finale was so tough with a three-kilometer climb of more than 10 percent. I took 20 points in the intermediate sprint and at that point it was really hectic, everybody wanted to break away but I managed to secure the points. It was overall a good day, but the battle for the green jersey is not over. We have seven stages left and we have to pay attention every day. Today, I said to myself that I would try to go as fast as I could on the final climb and I’m okay with the result. The climbers in the group accelerated at the bottom and I thought that I should keep my own pace and perhaps there would be a slight chance that I could catch them at the top. Of course, I would like to win, but it’s not easy for me on a climb like this”, says Peter Sagan before adding about tomorrow’s stage to Valence.
“Today I was thinking about tomorrow’s stage and I really hadn’t planned to go in the breakaway. But I aimed for the intermediate sprint and suddenly I was in the there and then I stayed, which also meant that I took extra points for the green jersey on the finish line. Maybe I can try again tomorrow but I’m not Superman. So we will see how I feel and for sure we’re going to do our best again, maybe I’m tired and maybe I’m not”.
Stage 14 finished off its 178.5 kilometers by sending the riders up a 3km final climb of 10.1 percent. Here the GC rivals went head to head behind the breakaway, where Steven Cummings (MTN) took the stage win. Team captain Alberto Contador tells that his sensations were better despite losing 19 seconds to the yellow jersey of Chris Froome.
“Despite the fact that I lost time, I’m satisfied because I have a different sensation while I’m riding, I can go out of the saddle, I can plan attacks and I feel more confident. However it’s a fact that we lost time today but although Paris seems to be near, the Tour is a long way from being over. And we still hope to achieve nice things in the following days. I was focused on Froome and Valverde and I knew that they were going to accelerate because Quintana was coming from behind. I knew that if I could get a bit of air, I would catch them again, but in the end their last acceleration was too fast for me and I decided to keep my own rhythm”, says Alberto Contador and continues:
“I could have attacked or followed, when Nibali and Quintana made a move, but I decided to play my cards by sitting on the wheel of Froome. You never know which strategy will be the right one, today I played that card, maybe another day I will play a different card. That will depend on how my legs feel. Today we were supposed to have thunderstorms but in the end it didn’t rain. Rain is an important factor that has a strong influence on the performance of each rider and each rider is affected in a different way. Maybe we have rainy weather in the following days and we can take advantage of that”.
Following the stage finish, Tinkoff-Saxo’s Head Sports Director Steven de Jongh says that nothing is yet certain in the fight for the green jersey.
“It wasn’t planned that Peter should go in the breakaway but it happened, since he was aiming for the intermediate sprint. Rafal and several of our guys were also coming to the front during the stage to assist and at some point Peter found himself in the break and he stayed there and in the end he also took extra points at the finish line. He’s now 61 points ahead but nothing is certain and we have to stay attentive”, says de Jongh and adds about Contador’s chances in the GC:
“In what regards Alberto, I think he did fairly well on the final climb, he couldn’t follow Froome but he was among the first GC guys to cross the line. For him and the team to make a real difference in the GC, we have to hope for rainy days in the Alps”.