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Tour de France 2020 stage 18 - finish line quotes

LA ROCHESURFORON FRANCE SEPTEMBER 17 Arrival Richard Carapaz of Ecuador and Team INEOS Grenadiers Michal Kwiatkowski of Poland and Team INEOS Grenadiers Celebration during the 107th Tour de France 2020 Stage 18 a 175km stage from Mribel to La Roche sur Foron 543m TDF2020 LeTour on September 17 2020 in La RochesurForon France Photo by Stephane Mahe PoolGetty Images
(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Michal Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers), stage 18 winner

"That was some day. I can’t describe how grateful I am to the whole team and to Richard [Carapaz]. It was an incredible day for us and I will never forget that. I’ve had some nice moments in cycling but that was something new. I got goosebumps for the last kilometers because I knew that the gap was so big that we would make it. Both of us really enjoyed the last kilometers. It’s incredible.

"We’re going to celebrate big time tonight because we all deserve it. We put on a show today and we have to enjoy that." (Eurosport)

Mikel Landa (Bahrain-McLaren), up to fifth overall

"It was our last opportunity. We had our team up toward the front but it’s a shame that we couldn’t do any better because Jumbo-Visma’s pace was too high and as a consequence we couldn’t do better. That’s just how it went. It was a good team effort and they worked really hard and I’m proud of what the team have achieved in the last couple of days." (Eurosport)

Simon Geschke (CCC), in the break and 15th on the stage

"In the break it's always nicer, you don't have to fight for positions. Especially in the last week of the Tour or Grand Tours in general breaks are likely to go to the finish. I already took two nice results out of the break so today was another chance. 

"I was surprised the break went so quickly but I was in with a big group with Matteo. Then it was just suffering until the last climb. I feel different than in the first week - the third week is my new favourite probably. 

(On Ineos attacking) "They surprised us all a little bit. Everyone knew they were keen to go in the break and that they want to win a stage so it was no surprise that they put a lot of good guys in the breakaway. But that they attacked us so early was a bit of a surprise to me because it was still a long way to go. But they were super strong. Even if I would have been on the wheel - it would have been extremely hard to stay with them today." (CCC Team)

Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma), yellow jersey

"It was two hard days in a row, yesterday and also today. Again the team did a great job - I was there, so one day less. It's always a lot of space to do a lot of things, you had a lot of climbs. We managed it really good with the full team and we bring it to the end here."

On Richie Porte's puncture

"I did not know, I was just riding for myself because it's the safest thing. It's the only thing I can manage - so far we did a really nice job with the team but still there are some tricky days to come. After the time trial there will be a decision known of the rankings but also tomorrow is another day to be really focussed. It's far from being really safe." (Eurosport)

Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), second overall

"On the profile, it was one of the toughest stages. And it was really hard. Jumbo did great work and had the whole stage under control. I tried on the last climb but it wasn’t possible. I didn’t have better legs than everyone else. It was all together in the end and I tried to sprint for third place. It was a good day for the team and they worked really hard again. I’m happy with their performance."

On the dirt section

"[Primoz] Roglic and I were both happy that nothing happened in the gravel because there was a possibility to puncture. It’s a good day behind us and we look ahead to the time trial. I did not know that Richie [Porte] had a puncture but I knew that he was behind. I’m glad that he came back because it would be unfortunate for him if a puncture caused him to lose his good place [overall]." 

Marc Hirschi (Sunweb) crashed, finished 13th on the stage

"I felt good, I took points for the mountains jersey, then I crashed. I tried to come back but it didn't work out. Carapaz had a small gap and I wanted to close the gap.

"I also had a different tyre on and I wasn't used to this tyre - then I slipped. I just took too many risks.

On super-combatif prize

"No no no, it's not my goal to take the super-combatif - I'm fine now and maybe - we'll see if I get it or not. I will anyway fight. It's the Tour de France, so I think anyway you fight to the end."

Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana), third overall

"A hard day, but I am happy to pass it without problems and to finish up there with the best riders. Once again the team did a great job for me and I was able to save some energy for the last most difficult climb. The pace of our group on the last climb was really high, so it was not possible to try something."

"The gravel section was a bit dangerous, but I managed to pass it well. I am happy to keep my position in the general classification and to lose time to the others. Well, one stage less and we are closer to Paris. On Saturday we will have a tough individual time trial and of course I will try to show my maximum there. Every time trial is different and a time trial at the 20th stage of the Tour de France differs a lot from any other race. All you can do - just to give your all. But, first of all we have to do tomorrow’s stage well."

Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quickstep) - green jersey leader

"I knew at the start of the stage that it was very important and that the boys were going to help me, because [Matteo] Trentin and [Peter] Sagan would have gotten a lot of points. My focus was first that intermediate sprint and then the rest of the stage, which was not so pleasant. 

"We found ourselves in a big breakaway, so some guys weren’t happy because I would follow up to the front but not roll through, and I was kind of playing cat and mouse with them. 

"I was happy to get the points, and now I think I’m above 50 points so, it’s kind of like, if something happened, there’s a bit of security. It was good to be there because it meant that when we got to the first big climb, I could set my own tempo and settle in. I didn’t expect them to come up so fast behind. This won’t stop until Paris. I am [optimistic] but I try not to think about it - just in case."