Etixx - Quick-Step riders Michal Kwiatkowski, Matteo Trentin, Zdenek Stybar, and Mark Cavendish talked about Le Tour de France Stage 15 on Sunday. Cavendish elaborated on stomach problems from the night before the stage, which adversely affected his performance.
"When we went away with 27 riders we knew it was a big group," Kwiatkowski said. "We stayed awake, Matteo, Rigo, and I. When there was another acceleration we were there with seven other riders. Collaboration was pretty good in the group at that point. No one was super confident we could arrive at the finish, because we still had more than 50 kilometers to go from the top of the last climb. Katusha was pulling full gas in the bunch. But we did everything we could. We've always been there when we have to be. That's the most important thing. We've always been paying attention. When there was a chance to arrive in a breakaway, we were there. Matteo could try the sprint if the breakaway was successful, or I could try something before that. But the advantage was not enough to try our chance the way we would have liked. But, that's cycling. You take the gamble of entering the breakaway, and sometimes the peloton does not work to catch you. Other days they are giving everything to control you. We're satisfied with the fact that we tried and it simply wasn't meant to be today."
"We just tried to stay away and it didn't work. We were focused on the stage win. We just tried 100 percent to go to the finish, and we will try again like this if there is another opportunity in the next days. Honestly when I went alone in the downhill I simply tried my tempo and no one followed me. I believe it was too much optimism to think I could go to the finish. There was also a headwind the last 25 kilometers. It was hard. But you have to honor the breakaway until the end, and that is what we did."
"I tried and didn't win. I saw a chance at a certain moment and gave my all. Sport Director Brian Holm was saying in my ears that at 3.6 kilometers to go it was good to go by myself. I was hoping someone would join me, but this didn't happen. Unfortunately the last 3 kilometers it was a full headwind, and just straight forward roads with no turns. It was me against the peloton. But like we've been saying this entire Tour, when you don't try you'll never win."
"I was up last night with stomach problems," Cavendish said. "In terms of the team's tactics we prayed it would be an easy start. But we had the plan to get guys in the breakaway anyway. I felt empty at the start. It's a shame because I was going good in the last couple of days. I had Mark Renshaw and Michal Golas with me, and we thought there was a chance we could come back. But once Katusha got on the front, and the TV cameras realize there's a chase happening and so go to the front of the peloton, you know it's going to be a long day for us guys behind. After about 30 kilometers we knew it was about surviving the day. We knew there wasn't a chance to win with me. But we knew there were guys that were in the break, which is really good. It was a hard day for us, but I'm still in Le Tour de France. I'm looking forward to just trying to get to Paris and I hope I am not ill in the next days."