Both Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervélo), who won stage 13 of the Tour de France in Lourdes, and David Moncoutié (Cofidis), runner-up on the day, conceded that third-placed Jérémy Roy (FDJ) deserved to be the winner after his couragious lone attack. Sadly for the Frenchman, the headwind in the final valley going to the city of the miracles put an end to the hope of the French engineer of claiming his first stage win at the Tour de France.
The day after crossing the Tourmalet in first position, Roy was again out alone in the lead at the top of the Aubisque. That gave him the polka dot jersey, at least for a day before the mountain finish at the Plateau de Beille, but that wasn't what Roy was seeking.
"Jerseys are only temporary," FDJ team manager Marc Madiot said when asked to celebrate both the polka dot and white jerseys, as Arnold Jeannesson remains the Tour's best young rider. "When we draw conclusions in Paris, only the wins count."
France continues to celebrate Thomas Voeckler's yellow jersey but there's still hasn't been a French stage winner after thirteen days of racing at this year's Tour de France.
"Probably when you'll ask me again in a couple of months, I'll tell you that I've had a super stage to Lourdes, but right now my disappointment is huge," Roy told Cyclingnews. "This defeat is hard to swallow. There was a headwind in the valley and it was too hard for me."
Good legs again
The rider from Tours, who became a father for the first time last month, was pessimistic at the start in Pau. He felt so tired after his attack over the Tourmalet that he wondered if he would be able to even complete stage 13.
"But I had good legs again today," he said in Lourdes. "My creed is to go for it. I'm not a champion, I can't play with the big guns at the summit of the climbs, so I have to out-manoeuvre the peloton with the limited physical capacities I've got. I've failed again today. It's infuriating to fail so close to the end. I was lucky to catch the break but unlucky at the moment of the conclusion."
Roy, 28, officially turned pro with FDJ at the age of 20 but it was only five years later before he really became a full-time professional cyclist after successfully completing his study in engineering.
"In the first seasons we only raced him on weekends or during school holidays," Madiot said.
In his first year as a true pro racer in 2008, Roy finished second to Sylvain Chavanel in stage 19 of the Tour de France to Montluçon. That was the first of his missed opportunities at winning a Tour stage. Although Lourdes will probably not be the last one because he is by nature an aggressive rider.