"I trained this winter, from November on,” he told Het Nieuwsblad. “It was good, but this was the first real chance to prove myself. I am very happy that I now have confirmation.”
Normally a domestique, he was given a free hand on Thursday to ride for himself. “Today we told him to just climb," said team leader John Lelangue. "He only had to look out for himself, without getting drinking bottles.”
His teammates congratulated him and also pointed out the rider's weaknesses. Michael Schär told him, “'You see.If only you believe in yourself,” and Philippe Gilbert pointed out that “Yannick does not always have confidence in himself."
One problem is that he feels he is overweight. At 174 cm he weighs only 61 kg, “but I would like to drop two pounds. But I already weigh less than last season. In the Vuelta I was 62.”
The 23-year-old took on his first grand tour last year, completing the Vuelta a Espana. Team leader John Lelangue called it “ a very big step. It was a very different experience for him. He is a complete rider.”