An interview with Pierrick Fedrigo, July 16, 2006
Pierrick Fedrigo took Bouygues Telecom's first Tour de France stage win today in Gap. The 2005 French champion outsprinted former Italian champion Salvatore Commesso in a classic two-man duel, with the peloton hot on their heels. But Fedrigo was definitely not thinking about the France-Italy world cup final when he crossed the line, as Brecht Decaluwé reports.
Q: Winning a stage in the Tour de France must bring on lots of emotions. Not only for you but also for the team, as this is the team’s first victory in this Tour de France.
PF: Of course this is a great moment for me. The team will be happy as well, of course. Our goal was to win a stage in this Tour de France, as we don’t have a GC rider in the team. That’s why we’re trying to get into the breakaway groups, with the success of today as a result.
Q: This stage looked like it was designed just for Pierrick Fedrigo, did you realize before the start that you could win today?
PF: At the start, I didn't think that I could win the stage. The first hour is always very hard, also today it was a very fast start. I could get away in one of the counterattacks and fortunately for us, we could make it to the finish.
Q: The name Fedrigo makes us guess that you have Italian roots.
PF: I have Italian roots, that’s true as my grandparents were Italian. Sadly enough, they can’t celebrate this victory with me as they have died already.
Q: Commesso, your rival in the final, is an Italian. You might have thought about the lost World Cup final of France against Italy.
PF: During the last kilometres and especially the last 200 metres, you just concentrate on how you can win a stage. You don’t think about soccer, although now everybody talks about it.
Q: Commesso isn’t really slow in the sprint, weren’t you afraid it would be hard to beat him in a sprint?
PF: Yes, I knew that so that was why I attacked on the last climb. Although it was only good enough to get rid of Aerts, but Commesso could stay with me. Tactically I did very well in the final kilometre. I stayed in Commesso’s wheel until there were only 200 metres to go, so I could overtake him easily.
Q: What went through your mind when you crossed the line?
PF: At that moment, you can’t realize what happened. But I can tell you now that it is a beautiful sensation because it hasn’t been easy for us since the start of the Tour. Even if we tried to get in a break, we still didn't have the guarantee that we would battle for the stage win. But we managed to get there as we remained motivated until the end. This Tour is now for sure a real success for us.
Q: Did you see the crash of Verbrugghe, and how could you avoid it?
PF: I was following right behind Verbrugghe. Because of the heat the road was deformed, reminding me about the crash of Joseba Beloki some years ago, also here in Gap. Verbrugghe had to brake very hard, causing his wheels to slip. I touched his bike but I could keep riding. It’s very sad that it happened and I hope he wasn’t hurt to bad, but those things just happen in cycling.