For the fifth time since the start of the Tour de France in Vendée, the FDJ team won the prize for the most aggressive rider with Sandy Casar seducing the panel of experts on stage 14 as well as his team-mates Mickaël Delage (stage 3 and stage 11) and Jérémy Roy (stage 4 and stage 13). The French squad also added one more intermediate sprint to their collection: Delage was the first man of the breakaway at Orgibet (km 36), so the riders sporting a four leaf clover on their kits now have eight half-way stage wins out of thirteen.
However, there were mixed feelings at FDJ at the Plateau de Beille as Casar also missed out on the stage win, Jérémy Roy lost the polka dot jersey to Jelle Vandendert, Arnold Jeannesson lost the white jersey to Rigoberto Uran (Sky), while William Bonnet was the only rider who didn't make the time cut.
"William had a knee inflammation for three days," directeur sportif Thierry Bricaud explained. "If it wasn't the Tour de France, he'd have gone home earlier." Jeannesson suffered a stitch at the beginning of the ascent to the Plateau de Beille but he remains in contention for the white jersey as well as Uran, Rein Taarämae (Cofidis) and Pierre Rolland (Europcar).
"I'm disappointed to not win the stage after attacking early this morning," Casar commented. "With about 10 minutes lead at some stage, I wanted to make it a success but there was no good cooperation in the breakaway. Some riders were there as team players for race favourites. I've tried my luck at the bottom of the Plateau de Beille. I believed a little bit in the possibility of winning the stage, but reasonably, I'd have needed a margin of five minutes over the chasers."
It was cruel for Casar to be overtaken with 6.4km to go by a former team-mate. Vanendert rode for FDJ in 2008 but didn't perform much due to injuries. "I've seen him very focused and I was focused to," the Frenchman said with a hint of regret. But Casar will probably try again before the end of the Tour de France, as FDJ is not tired of going for these secondary honours and they intend to remain a popular team even in the year of glory for Europcar.
Thank you for signing up to Cycling News. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.