Thomas De Gendt has said that he doesn't hold a grudge against Warren Barguil after the Frenchman was awarded the super combatif award for the most aggressive rider. However, the Lotto Soudal rider added that the award should be given to someone who demonstrated, "that he was there to animate the race and to go in the attack."
The most aggressive is an award that is handed out every day with a jury of six nominating the winner each day. Both De Gendt and Barguil took that honour – Barguil after stage 9 and De Gendt following stage 14.
Barguil certainly went on the attack during the Tour de France, with plenty of success. He ends the Tour de France with two stage wins and the polka dot jersey to show for his efforts. However, the awarding of the prize to him did raise a few eyebrows after De Gendt spent over 1,000 kilometres in the breakaway throughout the 2017 Tour de France.
The prize was announced before the conclusion of Saturday's time trial stage. De Gendt made an initial reaction on Twitter, saying that "the public vote is worth more to me than the vote of 6 jury members." He went into it in further detail in comments on the team website.
"Let me be clear: Warren Barguil has ridden a fantastic Tour and I don't feel any grudge towards him. But the mountains jersey is for the best climber, a stage win is for the rider who was the strongest that day and the green jersey is for the rider who was regularly the fastest," De Gendt said.
"I my opinion, the prize for the super-combativity should go to someone who showed throughout the Tour that he was there to animate the race and to go in the attack. That did not result in the desired result – a stage victory – but that should not be necessary to win the Super-combativity award.
De Gendt added that nationality may have played a part and the jury should be more international. He admitted to being 'very disappointed', but while he'd like to just head off home he is now focused on the final stage and helping to deliver Andre Greipel to a stage win in Paris.
"The fact that there are five Frenchmen in the jury did play its part. If there were five Belgians in the jury, the outcome would have been different; which is evidence that the composition is not right. It should at least be an international jury that decides on this. I am very disappointed. I am too disappointed to go any deeper into this. I would rather go straight home, but I will do my utmost today to let the stage end in a sprint finish on the Champs Elysées."
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