Jérémy Roy from the FDJ team came extremely close to a stage victory and the yellow jersey in Paris-Nice's stage one yesterday, but still affirmed his condition was not very good. In a stage finale where a three-men trio, incuding himself, the later winner Thomas De Gendt and Jens Voigt, held off a charging bunch on the very last metres, Roy's performance was outstanding but the Frenchman still played it down.
"My feelings were... not so great. I attacked to test myself and we ended up being three good rouleurs in front," the winner of the 2010 GP La Marseillaise told L'Equipe. "We had to be in good company and this was the case with Voigt. Then, with the wind, the teams that rode all day were tired in the finale. Myself, I lacked a bit of strength, I gave it everything in the finish but I had to give in to someone stronger than myself."
While De Gendt (Vacansoleil) found the resources to finish off the job and take the victory just metres ahead of the sprinters, Roy's lack of final speed could be down to a recent crash at the Boucles du Sud-Ardèche on February 27.
"My helmet exploded with the impact," he recalled. "My hip and knee made me suffer terribly but I did some ultrasound therapy for two days and this was apparently effective. I didn't have very good legs. I only decided to come to Paris-Nice last Thursday - I didn't even know where I stand but in the end it's not too bad."
Now, Roy will put himself to the service of his team leaders Sandy Casar and Pierrick Fédrigo, "whose ojectives are the general classification." Looking ahead to Monday's stage two through the plains of the Loiret department, the 27-year-old predicted more wind and possible echelons, which may again provide for interesting race scenarios.
"My teammates have to seize opportunities but I don't think the sprinters will be fooled two days in a row, even if there is a massive risk of echelons on stage two," added the Frenchman. "I hate side wind, but you have to force yourself..."