Stephen Cumming (MTN-Qhubeka) timed his ride to perfection on stage 14 of the Tour de France to beat the home favourites of Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ). The history making ride had added importance with it also being Mandela day.
There was a sour note on the stage though as race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky) had urine thrown at him by a spectator in the early part of the day, his teammate Luke Rowe was spat at, and BMC's Rohan Dennis complained of being punched by a spectator. Happily for Froome though, he managed to increase his lead over second place with Tejay van Garderen getting dropped on the final climb.
Chris Froome (Team Sky)
“As far as the racing goes, the team did a really great job getting me to that final climb and up that final climb I just controlled Quintana and rode my own tempo up there. Just kept things under control.
"Unfortunately there was an incident out on the road. A spectator in the early part of the race had a cup of urine, they threw it into my face and said dopé, like that. It’s extremely wrong and on so many different levels and I’m extremely disappointed about that. It’s not in the name of sport.
"I think a lot of the reporting on the race has been very irresponsible and I blame those individuals for that. Those individuals know who they are. Having said that, we’ve had fantastic support. We’ve had a great number of fans out on the road and I want to thank them and the media, a lot of them have been fantastic around this race, in just wanting to talk about the race. That’s what people want to see. Unfortunately some people ruin it for everyone else."
Stephen Cummings (MTN-Qhubeka)
"I knew I wasn’t the strongest climber, I knew there were better climbers and that it was going to be difficult to win. I was always waiting in the last 10 kilometres for an opportunity but it was clear that FDJ were going to try and control it for Pinot so I took advantage of that I waited and waited. At the Tour de France there’s a lot of people and maybe people go bananas at the bottom of the climb. I kept my calm and I just time trialled up it and on the downhill bit I managed to have a little carrot and chase them back.
"I saw Pinot was behind me. He’s cautious in the corners so I threw caution to the wind and I got a little gap. I’m pretty confident with those climbers that if I can get a little gap on the flat or down hill then it’s difficult to catch me.
"I think it was a good moment, you always wait for the right moment. As a kid I always dreamt of winning a stage like this from a big breakaway. All my career that’s what I wanted to do. I studied breakaways, I just love watching them and how they unfold, it’s my favourite part of a Grand Tour."
Doug Ryder (MTN-Qhubeka - team principal)
“I’m super happy that Steve’s a part of the team. It was a stage that he targeted and being Mandela Day it was also special for our team. To win a stage was our big goal and to pull it off after we tried so hard and got so many top 10s is incredible. I couldn’t be happier.
“It just shows his experience. He knew how to time his effort, he knew exactly when to go. I thought the climb was too steep at the end, but when they were attacking he was just biding his time. What a consummate professional to win like that.”
Thibaut Pinot (FDJ)
"I managed to see Bardet but I didn’t see Cummings coming at all and when he appeared he was coming really fast. I was feeling really good today so it’s hugely disappointing. Finishing second after the way we worked today, it’s a failure.
"On the Tour you don’t get massive opportunities so to miss this one is a huge disappointment."
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo)
“I felt better than the other days, I definitely felt more confident and I’m motivated for the days coming up.
“I could follow him (Nairo Quintana) but I didn’t. I’m not exactly sure whether I could follow him all the way. It was an explosive attack and you saw the result of it.
“If I say I’m tired after the Giro then people will say I have excuses. Maybe I’m just feeling the effort of it but other people are also tired out there so maybe it’s a good thing to have done the Giro… For me it’s complicated, it depends on how much the other guys want to risk. There are solutions but you want win with this sort of game or you can lose so decisions will have to be made.”
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)
“I worked very hard today, things went well, Castroviejo did a very good job for us as well. We saw Froome is still very strong. I was close to the podium, Castroviejo as well and now we’ll see what happens in the Alps.
“I think that we’re a pretty good duo we definitely have a good team and we work well together. I was attacking and Nairo was attacking too. I think if we work together it’s a very good thing to have two leaders in the team.”
Simon Yates (Orica-GreenEdge)
“At the end of the day I didn’t have the legs. I am feeling better but I think that I’m still feeling the effects of being sick. I’m disappointed but at the same time I don’t think that I had any more to give. I went into the red trying to chase Bardet and then that was it I was going backwards from there.
"There’s a few more stages to come so I’ll keep trying. I still don’t think I’m 100 per cent but slowly but surely."
Geraint Thomas (Team Sky)
“I think it was another hard day. It was hard controlling the break, it was two hours of full gas racing at the start. We held it together well and we got Froomey into a good position at the bottom of that climb and it was down to him. I told him I wasn’t really feeling it today. He’s distanced Tejay so he’s got a bit more on second place now which is great.”
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