Tour de France: Stage 9 finish line quotes

Emotional Degenkolb dedicates victory to 'second father'

John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) - stage winner

Pure happiness. Really - I was chasing the victory so long. It's really hard to describe.

It was a really hard fight all day. It is also a victory of the team. We really had a plan to stay out of trouble all the time, and it worked out really well. It was unbelievable.

This is a very big victory - since a long time... I have been through a lot of things – it was such a hard time. I'm so happy to dedicate this victory to one of my best friends - he passed away last winter. This was really something for him.

Everybody said I'm done, after this accident I will never come back. I said no, I'm not done. I have to make at least one really big victory for this guy, his name is Jörg. He was my second father. It was a horrible accident, and it is a huge loss without him. I'm so happy to get this victory now for him.

There's no way to make it more dramatic, more nice, more fantastic. I'm totally overwhelmed.

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) race leader

I wanted to do as good as possible, and winning in yellow would be something really special. That was in my head, the closer we came to the finish I started believing it.

It's a big disappointment to me not to win it, but that's how it is sometimes. Maybe I should have started my sprint a little earlier, but that's after the race.

Overall, I kept the jersey, made a great race out of it - I'm really happy with my first week.

We lost Richie already after 10k. It was a big disappointment for the whole team because we were here to bring him to Paris. It was not a great start, but we tried to make the best out of it, tried to put Tejay in front. But the GC guys their struggle always seems to be on cobbles. Then I just did my own race, tried to make the team happy, and that's what I did I think.

I rather would have won a stage, but that's how it is. I'm really happy with the first week - all week in the yellow is something special for me also. With BMC with the stage win already - now we can do the second and third week a little more relaxed and try to do as good as possible.

Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo)

It’s great. We made a plan yesterday and we knew that this was the best chance for a stage win. The plan was to look after Bauke [Mollema] and myself and John could go for the stage. I think we played it perfectly.

I just wanted to stay out of trouble today so I was at the front.

We had some bad luck with Bauke but he managed to come back. I think the other guys did a really great job, especially Toms. He did amazing and also Gogl gave his bike. That was good team work. [Eurosport]

Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Floors) - third on stage 9

With the heat and the dust it wasn’t an easy day. Every section we were fighting to be in the front. I managed well. I had to change bikes halfway through the race but I came back. I felt that I still had power in the legs and then I had to think a lot about where I would attack. I did it on Camphin en Pevel.

We went with three guys, me, Greg Van Avermaet and John Degenkolb, two of the world’s best Classics riders. I was happy that I would do a breakaway with those guys. In the sprint, I knew it would be hard. Maybe I should have tried to go away but it’s tough. [Eurosport]

Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb)

It was crazy, especially the first 50k before the cobblestones. It was the most terrifying moments in my life on the bike. Afterwards, it was kind of alright. I have good legs but it was really difficult to make a difference with the other GC riders.

It was really unfortunate for Richie. I would have really liked to see him battle it out in the mountains. He was in really good shape but that’s racing I guess. It’s very unfortunate. We knew that not 100 per cent of the GC riders would get through the first nine days together.

Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates)

Was it a Sunday in Hell or half a Sunday in Hell? I said before the start that I was going to try and enjoy the stage. I don't know if enjoy was the right word but I think all the adrenaline… I had a crash yesterday and my back is a different story. It looks like a bit of a pizza back there. They boys did a great job on the first two or three sections. I’m still in the fight for the podium.

I was fighting for the front at the start but I figured that I couldn't do that all day so I eased back. You might have seen me near the back eating and drinking but I was trying to keep my legs fresh for the final. When we did the recon, we got to Roubaix and I was completely cooked. I knew it would be a really long, hard day. It was just about staying composed and knowing that the race would come back to you if it did split.

The boys stayed with me whatever happened and in the end I had the legs to be up there in the final.

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