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Casar getting better and better

Sandy Casar (Française Des Jeux)

Sandy Casar (Française Des Jeux) (Image credit: AFP)

Sandy Casar is on his way to get his best result at the Tour de France since he came 16th overall in 2004. He's the best Frenchman again. But nothing would make him happier than a stage win, as he told Cyclingnews' Jean-François Quénet after the Alpine stages.

The starting area of stage 18 in Bourg d'Oisans was absolutely crowded and chaotic but it was a relief for the riders to look up and watch the mountains for the last time. The hardest part of the Tour was over. Sandy Casar of Française des Jeux revealed his physical state. "For the first time since the start of the race in Brest, I feel tired."

Maybe because of that, he was one of the first riders to crash en route to Saint-Etienne. He wasn't hurt like Damiano Cunego would be later on but he could feel all the fatigue of almost three weeks of racing on his shoulders. It means he was right to skip the Giro this year, a race he finished in sixth position two years ago before struggling badly at the Tour de France.

Several times, Casar was reportedly tired even before the start of the Tour de France. "But I can't refrain myself from racing during the Spring," he explained. "I like cycling so much. Whether I do the Giro or not, every year it's the same, I start the Tour with about 65 days of racing."

In Brest, he was scared of the first stages. "That's not what I like", he explained. "It's extremely nervous in the bunch, the crowd is big and enthusiastic. The risk of crashing is huge." In fact, after only four days of racing he was 7'31 down on the maillot jaune! And that was in Cholet, a town where he used to live and study when he was 19.

His 124th place in the overall standings didn't bother him. "After a few disappointments I have decided to ride the Tour without being stressed by the overall classification." His stage win in Angoulême last year made him much happier than anything else he experienced at the Tour de France since he started doing it in 2002. The best result he got in Paris was 16th in 2004. France is so desperately looking for somebody to ride GC that he has had a lot of pressure for doing so.

Read the full Casar interview.