Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Pro Team) - winner of stage 6
"This is a very important victory for me. The Tour de France is the most important race in the world, so I’m really happy. It went as well as it could have. I’ve been working hard to get a victory like this. It was a stage we (Astana) targeted, and I’m delighted it came to fruition and the hard work paid off today.
"Today on the bus we spoke about this stage, we knew it was one we could target. I’d lost enough time to be allowed into the breakaway, then we got to the climb and I climbed at my rhythm. Alexandre Vinokourov had told me about the 2-kilometre section which would be the hardest part, and gave my maximum there. When I heard [Jesus] Herrada was at 25 seconds I was a little worried but I knew if I gave my all without going into the red that I could win." (ASO)
Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) - 10th on stage and GC race leader
"It was a strong breakaway. There were a lot of guys who really wanted to go in there today. It was pretty much all flat all the way to the climb so it was quite hard to control, but I think we did a good job. In the end I had Mikel [Nieve] and Esteban [Chaves Rubio] with me, so all in all it was a good day.
"It was just the way the break already had the gap, and all the bonuses were already taken, so there wasn’t much to gain for anyone. Then also the final climb wasn’t super steep, and it takes a lot of effort to get a few seconds. Everyone was saving their energy and keeping it for a later day. We defended well, and it’s another day in yellow.
"It was a strange situation. We rode well today and hopefully did the jersey proud. Tomorrow is a sprint stage we have two really hard stages. I know quite a lot about the climbs and it’s going to be super tough. I’ve got a strong team here not just for the flat but also the climbing stages, so I’m looking forward to it.
"I still want to win a stage, that’s what I came here to do but it’s pretty hard to throw away time when you’re in the lead. From now we’ll take it day by day and we’ll see what happens." (ASO)
Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) - 14th on the stage
“It was a medium mountain stage but a tough mountain stage. I felt quite strong [on the Col de la Lusette], to be honest. We were expecting there to be more attacks on that climb, but we couldn’t see much because there was a false flat after the Mandagout, so we couldn’t see anyone ahead of us. The Pyrenees are coming and I would say that is what we are focus on.” (Eurosport)
Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team) - third on the stage
"I think that it was a good day to try something. I was still close on GC so I just gave it a go on the uphill start. It was super hard and we had a super hard break. I just gave it a chance and gave everything that I had, but [Alexey] Lutsenko was super strong, especially on the steep part. I couldn’t find my rhythm there and it was hard to catch up with him.
"I’ve been here on vacation so I knew how the climb was and I knew that if I survived the steeper part it might be a good climb for me. In the end, it was good to be out front there. The way we started, with the names we had in the break, nothing was for free. It was one of the strongest breaks ever I’ve been in. With this sort of finish it’s one where you never stop, and you always keep on going. We had a bit of an advantage on the GC guys because they are still waiting because on a climb like this a GC guy cannot make the big difference.
"When I saw Lutsenko, [Jesus] Herrada and [Nicolas] Roche, there I knew that it wouldn’t be easy but from a long break it’s different. I just gave my best.
"I’m happy because the strongest guy won and I didn’t make any mistakes. I’ve no problems with that. I knew that if I survived the first category climb I had a chance to win and that’s the card that I played. I was hoping when the gap was six minutes because you want to make the best of it." (Flobikes and NBC)
Neilson Powless (EF Pro Cycling) - fourth on the stage
"In the very beginning, it was incredibly hard. Everyone in that group could roll incredibly hard on those flat roads. Just the speed we were carrying was really impressive and it’s not often you see guys who can hold speeds of high 40s, lower 50s [kilometres per hour] for so long. After we were in the group [breakaway] and rolling steady, I was really happy with the group because almost everyone was taller than me so I could hide behind them, like Daniel Oss or Greg [Van Avermaet], so I just tried to hide behind those guys.
"I think I was also attacking at the right moments, on the steepest part of the climb when everyone behind me got the least amount of draft or assistance from my attacks. At the end of the day I was just really happy to be racing aggressively, and I think it’s all going to be money in the bank for future development and maybe one day I’ll be strong enough to hold an attack like that." (ITV)
Michal Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers) - seventh on the stage
"We knew the climb was pretty tricky, with a bad surface, so that was basically getting out of trouble. Being in the wheels on the climb, we would suffer more, so we just rode on the front with our own speed, saving energy and keeping safe. Mission complete.
"We were not afraid to take it on and try for the stage win but that was a pretty strong breakaway. If you know the names out there, we knew it would not be an easy task for Mitchelton-Scott, so my money was on the breakaway today." (ITV)
Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) - 11th on stage and best young rider jersey
“I expected that today’s stage would be hard. For me, it was harder than I thought. I got a puncture at the top of the first category climb [Col de la Lusette], so it was really good teamwork from Jan [Polanc] to bring me back really fast. I didn’t spend too much energy but every puncture counts. In the end, I tried to sprint for the top 10 and I think I was close. I was OK with today.
“It is a strange feeling to be at the Tour de France and fighting with the best guys in the world. I’m not surprise by my form, I knew my shape, but it’s an amazing feeling.” (Eurosport)
Nicolas Roche (Team Sunweb) - Most combative rider
“[Alexey] Lutsenko was the strongest in the break. It was the first thing I said on the radio, that Lutsenko was the guy to follow and I wasn’t wrong. The change in rhythm from riding on the flat all day to that first acceleration on the climb cost me. That was a pity because my tactics up to then had been good.
“Thomas De Gendt made the first attack at the start. That was a bit telegraphed, so I waited for the counter. Rémi Cavagna came across with Greg Van Avermaet, and I thought that was good. When I saw the quality of the other riders coming across to us, I knew they were good guys, riders of a top world level and I knew we’d ride well together.
“The Col de la Lusette was a leg-breaker of a climb. It’s like an Alpine climb, a real Tour de France col. It’s very demanding and very hard to manage – it hurts.
“I wasn’t surprised the GC riders stayed together. That’s why I went in the break because that was how I thought it would play out today. I knew it was a day where the break could go the distance. This weekend in the Pyrenees will be more of a battle between the leaders.” (France Télévisions)
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