Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) leaned over his handlebars 100 metres after the finish line in Valence, breathing in mouthfuls of air as he tried to recover from his sprint effort and the pain of the tough stage, with sweat dripping from his brow after another hard day of racing at the Tour de France in the heat of southern France.
Despite the disappointment of being beaten by Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) yet again, with John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) also going past him to take second, the Kristoff patiently answered questions from the Norwegian media, who wanted to know every detail of the sprint, what went wrong and why.
After speaking in Norwegian, Kristoff also gave his version of things in English, sportingly admitting that Greipel had fully deserved to win.
“Today Greipel and Degenkolb were just stronger. He beat me fair and square,” Kristoff said.
Kristoff avoided passing any blame to his teammates, pointing the finger at himself.