It was probably not his goal of the day, he who had announced at the start of the Tour de France aiming for stage victories without ambition in the general classification. But on the evening of this 14th stage, Saturday July 10, there is Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) second in the general classification, ahead of 4’04 “by the yellow jersey Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Emirates). “We are always four minutes early, which is a good margin”, also relativized the leader of the general.
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“I tried, UAE-Emirates (the Pogacar team) couldn’t run all the hares. I forced my destiny”Guillaume Martin
at France Televisions
The Frenchman, whom the peloton let go in the day’s breakaway, was 3’57 “behind Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma), third overall. A gap large enough for him to slip into the good breakaway , which took a long time to form after the first part of the race swallowed up at high speed. “It was still a super tough stage. I saw an opportunity in the bump in the middle of the race. It was risky, I spent a lot of energy to keep this breakaway alive. On a finish like that downhill. , I knew that the stage victory was hard to play “, he explained, smiling on arrival. “We saw that it was a difficult stage which suited Guillaume’s characteristics (Martin). He bravely tried his luck and we know he’s a striker “, congratulated the general manager of Cofidis, Cédric Vasseur.
Eleventh on the line at Quillan, the climber of the northern formation took advantage of the inertia of the EF Education-Nippo formations of the second of General Rigoberto Uran and of Jumbo-Visma, that of Jonas Vingegaard, to fill a significant gap. If he is still very far from the Slovenian, he has a 1’14 “lead on Saturday evening over the Colombian, now third. “I was asked if I was not too close so that I would not be given an exit voucher. It is a particular Tour with a lot of opportunities and I will continue to seize them”, Guillaume Martin continued.
The Frenchman will no doubt have to make a choice from now on: put an end to his initial ambitions of a bouquet because too close to the general, or aim for a podium in Paris, while he has never concluded a Tour de France in the ten first. “It’s a good day, I’m happy with the team’s race and the aggressive temper I was able to show. Usually we’re a bit on the defensive. This year I don’t want to bother with that, I want to take risks and today it seems to be paying off “, he revealed without saying too much on arrival. “For us this is a fantastic result”, continued Cédric Vasseur.
Unless the slopes of Andorra decide for him, making him pay for his efforts at the foot of the Pyrenees. “In the end, I had a little problem with dehydration, I felt weak. I hope I will recover well for tomorrow”, he concluded. The day of rest scheduled for Monday in the principality could then do him a lot of good before attacking a decisive last week.
Very comfortable in the Alps with an eighth place in Grand-Bornand and a fourth place the next day in Tignes, the climber must limit damage in the Pyrenees if he wishes to keep his position. “They (favorites) surely consider that he is less strong than them in the mountains and they will try to go and recover some time for him tomorrow or Tuesday “, analyzed his breakaway companion Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ), 12th on the stage. “The Pyrenees, it worked well last year for Guillaume (Martin). What will be important is to manage the stage of tomorrow well and not to have any repercussions “, warned its leader.
The next four stages are very mountainous before the time trial of the 20th stage. An exercise in which Guillaume Martin does not shine. This one had conceded more than two minutes to Rigoberto Uran and nearly three minutes compared to the fourth of the general, Jonas Vingegaard, on the 27 km of the stopwatch of the fifth stage, in Mayenne. “To have Guillaume (Martin) right in the wheel of (Tadej) Pogacar, we don’t know what can happen on the Tour de France. Paris is still far away, there is a week left. I am very optimistic as I approach the last part of the Tour. Pogacar is above everyone but he is not immune to failure“, slipped the general manager of Cofidis with a smile.
Guillaume Martin is not there yet and his second place gives color to a moribund Grande Boucle for the Tricolores. “He tried, it’s really great for himgreeted Valentin Madouas. He said he would not play the general classification and in the end he made his best Tour de France. He’s taken a bit of the pressure off and that’s bound to be good for him. ”
“France is waiting for a rider for the Tour and I think that today Guillaume (Martin) gave us a lot of emotions. The Norman rider is perhaps the yellow jersey of courage. Maybe he will do dreams in yellow, because when you’re second, you just want to go get the yellow tunic “, concluded a Cédric Vasseur with the angels.