Here I am in Nice, and with the Tour de France just one day away, everything feels a bit surreal but exciting at the same time. It’s been such a different year, one that no one could have predicted but we head into the Grand Départ really excited about the next three weeks ahead.
When I say we, of course I mean myself and the rest of the Deceuninck-QuickStep team. We’re incredibly motivated not just to race but also show off our jersey as much as possible. We don’t have a GC plan as such, but we go into the Tour de France looking to win as many stages as possible.
I’m doing really well and feeling good. The shape is there and so is the confidence, but I can [see] around the dinner table that everyone is incredibly motivated.
Just as with the rest of the team, my main objective will be to try and go for stage victories. I know that I finished 11th on GC a few years ago in the Tour de France but overall isn’t something that I have in my mind right now, and it’s been that way since earlier in the year. Of course, if everything goes perfectly, and I find myself in that position to try and do something in the third week, then I won't give up that chance but there are plenty of strong climbers here - many of them better than me on the long ascents, so I’ll just try and focus on the stage victories.
But looking at the team as a whole, we’re super strong and we’ve got plenty of options when it comes to going for stage victories. We have Sam Bennett for the sprints and then several other riders capable of competing for stage wins. It’s a really competitive team, and the Wolfpack are hungry for success.
As far as I know Julian [Alaphilippe] isn’t going for GC and that leaves us with quite a lot of freedom for stages. Of course, we’ll try and have as many opportunities as possible in the hard stages, and we all seem to be in good shape. I’ll be working with Julian as much as possible on some of the harder stages and the yellow jersey is something that we’re thinking about when it comes to the first few stages. We know that it’s up for grabs on stage 1 with the sprint but the next day should see another change in leadership.
Stage 2 is going to be quite revealing when it comes to the form of a number of the GC riders in the race. We did the recon two days ago and already we could see how tough it’s going to be. You’ve got the Col de Turini, which is long and has some steep sections, and then there’s a very tricky downhill section. It’s quite far from the finish but we’ve also got the Col d’Eze in there. It’s going to be a super hard stage and we’ll see the climbers on show with a maximum of 40 or 50 riders left at the finish.
The first couple of days are going to be really nervous but hopefully fans will see some nice racing. As for the fans, we really appreciate your support both at home and at the race, but if you are planning on coming to cheer us on please respect the rules and wear your mask. It’s for you, it’s for us, it’s for the Tour de France.
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