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Ben Gastauer (Ag2r)
Luxembourger revelling in Ag2r-La Mondiale's success
With a stage win courtesy of Blel Kadri and two riders ensconced within the top-ten, Ag2r-La Mondiale are enjoying a fruitful Tour de France which 26-year-old Ben Gastauer is well aware of. The Luxembourger is making his Tour debut in 2014 and with five previous grand tours under his belt, knows what a success the race has been so far for the team.
"It's true that I couldn't dream to make my Tour debut in better conditions with a team who win and with two leaders well placed in the GC," Gastauer explained to letour.com. "Blel's stage win really eased the pressure and also gave us ideas.
"This Tour de France started pretty well for me. I didn't crash. Then we're now in the mountains which are one of my favourite terrains because I don't climb too badly."
With teammate Romain Bardet currently third overall and holding the white jersey and Jean-Christophe Péraud in sixth overall, Gastauer will need to continue to climb well with three tough stages to come in the Pyrenees where he will be called upon to help out his leaders.
Although he is racing as a domestique, Gastauer explained that he was free to pursue his own chances in the first week, and while he was unable to capitalise on that freedom he will look to seize his chance whenever possible in the third and final week.
"I would have loved to do a little better in the Vosges, which are close to home but I didn't manage to go in the right break," he said.
Due to his climbing through the Alps, Gastauer is currently 25th overall and on track to better his best ever overall position in a grand tour, 51st at the 2013 Giro d'Italia.