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Tom Jelte Slagter (Garmin-Sharp) won stage 7 in Paris-Nice
Tour debutante feeling more confident each day
The finish of stage 8 suits the characteristics of the puncheur who won two stages of Paris-Nice in March this year and he is looking for a good result having missed out on his first goal of the race as he explained to letour.fr.
"My first objective was the second stage but unfortunately I didn't feel strong or confident enough on the day to go for the win, which was my only goal and we changed plans and decided to toughen the pace in the hills working for Andrew Talansky and it turned out well," he said.
"The other stage I pinned down is the one finishing in Gérardmer. Of course, the priority is to look after Andrew but if circumstances permit, the course suits me very well, I'm at my best in the mid-mountains."
Talanksy will be feeling the effects of a crash in the final 200 meters of stage 7 in Nancy for which he blamed Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) for taking him down that could see Slagter freed to chase the stage win.
While he sits almost 30 minutes behind the yellow jersey of Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), a stage win could see Slagter earn himself a polka dot jersey on the "the pearl of the Vosges" as described by Victor Hugo's brother Abel. However the stage, while suiting explosive climbers like Slagter, may see the GC contenders test each other's legs ruling out Slagter's opportunity to ride for himself.
Having raced the Giro d'Italia on two occasions and the Vuelta a España once, Slagter explained that the Tour was a much bigger and tougher race than the other two grand tours but is enjoying his first La Grande Boucle.
"It's just the biggest cycling event in the world with the best teams and their nine best riders," he said. "Even in the race itself you can tell it's the highest level. I finished stage 2 really tired, my body hurt. I'm just hoping everyone felt the same."