Tour de France: Stage 8 finish line quotes

Calmejane wins as GC ends in stalemate

Lilian Calmejane (Direct Energie) - stage winner

It’s incredible. Since the start of the Tour we’ve been at the front, but I never thought it would lead to a success like this. I’m a rider who likes to animate the race, and I said to my teammates I wanted to try something today. They did such great work today, they allowed me to realise my dream, of winning a stage at the Tour.

I never imagined such a scenario. I thought that when we went to seven in the break we might have a chance of contesting the stage, but to win solo like that, it’s incredible. From kilometre-zero right until the finish it was full gas. At the end there it was a mental battle, you couldn’t let your head go. More than legs, it was about the head today.

Serge Pauwels (Dimension Data)

I went all in to take yellow but Sky didn't want it to happen. We didn't get a big gap. It was very hard to get in the breakaway. I gave a lot but without reward.

Robert Gesink (LottoNL-Jumbo) - second on the stage

I wanted to win but someone was better. I tried to smash through to the front, and I dropped Pauwels and Roche, but I blew. He cramped but my legs weren't much better. In the end, it was a fight between two dead guys, and the other guy won, not me.

When you're up there and riding the last climb with four guys in front, you have a good chance, so I had to play my own game. It worked, more or less, until I exploded a little bit trying to catch that last guy. He stayed away, he did a good job and I'm satisfied with second.

Chris Froome (Team Sky) - race leader

I didn't expect it to be quite as intense as it was today. That was a really tough day, especially with tomorrow in mind. That was really quite selective. I think my teammates were fantastic today. From start to finish they were in control of the race, and the pressure was on. We had a lot of guys up front who were up there on GC and were a real threat. The team really had to pull out all the stops today. The guys are fantastic.

It was tactically an interesting stage. We had the plan of putting Sergio [Henao] and [Mikel] Landa in the break, seeing as they're also up there on GC, but there was also [Mathias] Frank and [Pierre] Latour up there. So it was a difficult one because although we had two guys in the break, we couldn't really give them much room.

Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) - second overall despite a crash

I had just gone back for bottles and had just got back to front and I went into the corner a bit too hot. I was looking to my side and the boys were braking, there was a split second delay then I hit the gravel. It was a choice between going into the trees or the hay bales, so I chose the hay. I front flipped but it was a better option than the woods.

There wasn't time for a leak all day, we were on the pedals, racing all day. We rode well as a team, we had Landa and Sergio up there, and Knees came back to help us ride, so it was all under control in the end really. A tough day, but tough for everyone.

Riche Porte (BMC Racing) - 5th overall

Obviously, the stronger guys were in the break. I don't think there was anyone up there who didn't have good legs. It was a pretty big group, and when you get big groups like that they don't really work well together.

It's good to see [Team Sky] pull on the front today. It was scary to see Thomas go into the barriers, but he's OK, which is nice. I hope there are some tired legs among them tomorrow.

It was for us with Greg [Van Avermaet] in the breakaway. It was a pretty wild old stage. I think we averaged 46 or something for the first hour, so it's a pretty solid racing with the climbs we had to do.

Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors) - 4th overall, attacked in closing stages

It was an opportunity, there was a tailwind, and I had momentum. I was coming up fast from behind to move up, and just thought I'd sprint and see what happened. I got a little gap but the others were pretty alert.

It was full-on all day, incredible, a really brutal day. Everyone was cautious about attacking before tomorrow. With that finish, it deterred attacks on the climb. The last climb was quite easy to sit on the wheel. That's why I thought everybody might be sleeping at the end, and I gave it a shot. 

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